Zahid should stop the Federal Government campaign to “whitewash” an already “very white-washed” RCI Report on illegal immigrants in Sabah

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should stop the Federal Government campaign to “whitewash” an already “very white-washed” Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS).

Last week, Zahid said there was no “Project IC” to issue blue identity cards to tens or hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Sabah to change the political demography of the State.

This denial of a “Project IC” flies in the face of the finding of the RCIIIS which concluded “that it was more likely than not that ‘Project IC’ did exist” – or to quote the conclusion and answer of the RCIIIS after a 14-page discussion of the question whether “Project IC” really existed:

“In short, there is a probability that such a Project did exist at all material times.” (p.300) Read the rest of this entry »

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Including both genders at work is paramount for a high income nation

— Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

DECEMBER 18 — Contrary to Isma’s beliefs, Malaysia will never achieve a high-income nation or even a developed nation status, if gender stereotypes continue to perpetuate our society, especially in matters that concerns the economy and honoring basic human rights. Their idea of solely depending on men as breadwinners and reducing women to child rearing duties is defective and discriminating to all Malaysians – regardless of gender.

The statement made by Dr Nur Farrah Nadia Najib, who heads the group’s family and society bureau, “A high income nation must not rely on women as the major contributor but rather men should lead the workforce and put their biggest effort in shaping the nation” is flawed as it demoralises the struggles Malaysian women work so hard to overcome.

Climbing the corporate ladder and pushing for equal pay has always been important issues for women’s rights advocacy and it is a continuous work in progress which needs support from the all levels of our society. There is no denying that education plays a crucial role in setting the template of success and attainment but even though, the number of women enrolled in tertiary institutions is currently higher than men, the opportunities for women to progress in the local workforce are different. To some extent, these opportunities may not even exist at all.

However, encouraging women to participate in the workforce is not enough. There must be pro-active measures by the government to guarantee that half of this country’s populations’ skills and talents are fully utilised in order to spur positive economic growth. Having more women at work can only be advantageous to our country, as differing perspectives supports diversity and innovation which are key dynamics needed to compete in an increasingly competitive globalised economy. Read the rest of this entry »

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95 NGOs back the 25 ‘Eminent Malays’


We, a group of Malaysian NGOs fully support the recent open letter from a group of 25 personalities that identified themselves as “a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia” to urge the government to hold a public discourse on Islamic law vis a vis the Federal Constitution. The 25 individuals, who identified themselves as “moderate Muslims”, comprised of, among others, retired civil servants, judges and ambassadors.

We applaud the courageous action of these towering figures to stand up and publicly address sensitive yet critical issues plaguing our nation. Too often in the history of nations, the extremists have triumphed not because they enjoyed majority support, but because the majority were silent and idle. Like similar minded NGOs working for the love of our nation, these 25 senior citizens chose not to be passive and have voiced their dismay and abhorrence at the current state of the nation.

We share their sentiment that “there is a real need for a consultative process that will bring together experts in various fields, including Islamic and Constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways”. We would further add that a similar process of consulting relevant experts and stakeholders, be applied to matters related to the process of legislation of other laws too. These should be undertaken in an ambience of transparency, best practises , mutual respect and permeative consultation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Portrait of a confused hero

By Mariam Mokhtar
Dec 15, 2014

We are familiar with the expression, “Behind every great man, is a woman”, but in Ibrahim Ali’s case, the expression which best fits him was said by the comedian Jim Carrey, “Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes”.

Yesterday, Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa declared himself a hero of the Malay community. He lashed out at the group of 25 former civil servants and academics who had penned an open letter to Najib Abdul Razak to halt the spread of extremism. Malaysians affectionately dubbed this influential group, the ‘Eminent 25’; however, an irate Ibrahim called them “cowards”.

For the 25 people to “come out” means that a point of no return has been breached; but let us examine the profile of Ibrahim Ali, the self-proclaimed hero. Read the rest of this entry »

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Court ruling in Hindu mother’s case raises key concerns, say lawyers

by Pathma Subramaniam
The Malay Mail Online
December 19, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 ― A Court of Appeal decision this week which indicated that police may ignore orders if it involves the private rather than the public sphere of life, may drive citizens to take matters in their own hands, lawyers have warned.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the government and rejected the Ipoh High Court’s order of mandamus to compel the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) recover M. Indira Gandhi’s six-year-old daughter citing the distinction of the role of the police in enforcing laws in the public sphere as opposed to private lives.

The mandamus order, issued in September, was essentially an instruction from the High Court to the top cop to carry out his statutory duty to find and return Indira’s six-year-old child Prasana Diksa and arrest her ex-husband Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah.

Lawyers, who had observed the matter at the appellate court, said that while the court’s ruling was specific to Indira’s case, its consequences may be far reaching.

“The court did not rule on custody but just on the way to enforce the order of custody, however, it will affect all other cases involving private remedy.

“This is dangerous because the underlying message to the public at large is that you have to find your own way to put the remedy into effect,” said Andrew Khoo, the Bar Council’s human rights committee co-chairman. Read the rest of this entry »

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Protecting our children from child marriages

– Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
18 December 2014

Throughout the world, marriage is still regarded as a sacred union between an adult man and an adult woman. Marriage, along with birth and death, signal key defining moments of a human being’s life – the beginning, the passage and the end. Therefore, matrimonial unions often warrant grandiose celebrations from every culture and society.

But the practice of child marriages is inexcusable and such unions do not warrant any kind of celebration.

There are several reasons why parents impose early marriage upon their children, some view marriage as a means to alleviate themselves from poverty by providing some form of brief economic relief (e.g. dowry, handing over responsibility of raising a child to someone else) but mostly, in our country’s case, it is seen as a method to protect children from immoral sexual activities. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Malays should back the ‘I am #26′ petition

By Hafidz Baharom
Dec 18, 2014

I was recently roped in to support the ‘I Am #26′ petition, a subsequent reaction to the letter of the G25, a group of eminent Malays who long for thorough moderation and not just words without action.

Written by a columnist for The Malaysian Insider, it has at the time of my writing this gained 3,760 signatories in the last four days, averaging 1,000 people a day.

And quite wholly, I agree to what the petition stands for, because it is, in fact, what an Islamic society is supposed to be; thorough, enlightened and in the spirit of brotherhood or sisterhood.

Personally, the five points of the petition to the prime minister requires urgent and immediate attention, and as such, I am wondering what the hesitance is about. Read the rest of this entry »

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Opposing hudud does not mean opposing Islam

— Nadira Ilana
Malay Mail Online
April 23, 2014

APRIL 23 — I’m just not sure what’s a ‘nice’ way to have a conversation about a set of laws that legitimises amputations, slavery and public stoning in God’s name. There are many reasons why I think that hudud has no place in the modern world.

Hudud neglects what we know today about economics and social science. We know that robbers don’t all rob because they’re bad, it’s because they’re often poor, sick or desperate. We know that sociopathy and psychopathy are personality disorders and that people are a product of their environment therefore evil acts are not Satanic manifestations in men. In that respect, not all women and men can be judged the same.

We know that just because four men didn’t witness a rape, it doesn’t mean that a woman has committed adultery. A woman is not the proverbial tree fallen in the forest so a rape kit will do just nicely to prevent her from getting stoned. Consider that if accusations of adultery are punishable too then Mahathir should get a huge walloping for what he’s dragged Anwar through.

Another inconsistency with hudud is that in Islam you can’t amputate livestock if you want to consume their flesh because it’s inhumane but then if a man steals you can amputate his hands. I don’t see the justice here. Taking away the hands of a man who steals because he is hungry is a low blow. Read the rest of this entry »

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Another 25 Malaysians Petition Prime Minister


Petitioning The Prime Minister of MALAYSIA

Azrul Mohd Khalib

Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri,

We, the undersigned Malaysians, wish to express our admiration, faith and support to the call recently stated so eloquently by 25 courageous and respected individuals. Their words have inspired us all and electrified the nation. As many other Malaysians, we stand together with them.

And like everyone else who support their concerns, we too have a stake in building this country.

We call upon the leadership of this country to stand with other fellow Malaysians in delivering on the belief and promise of a common vision and a shared destiny: a just, free and caring nation of ideas, of dreams and of promises which promote inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity.

The letter by the 25 distinguished Malaysians brings into perspective the need for us to put an end to our petty differences and false promises, the racism and the bigotry, the intimidation and the blind hatred. For far too long, these unfortunate attributes and the sins of our fathers and those before, have strangled our politics and each other.

Those who speak in arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice do not speak for us.

After all, the Malaysian story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and many other faiths and non-believers. This diversity is our strength.

We have chosen to hope and be together over fear and bigotry, the unity of purpose over conflict and disunity. To those who seek to sow conflict and discord, know that we reject the idea that we need to dominate and discriminate in order to progress as a people and a country. We believe in a shared destiny as Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »

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How could an extremist with racial and religious prejudice rise up to become Chief Justice, the top judicial officer of the land?

The question more and more lawyers and Malaysians are asking is how an extremist with racial and religious prejudice like Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad could rise up to become Chief Justice, the top judicial officer of the land.

Last month, Tun Hamid shocked the judicial community and Malaysians when he waded into treacherous waters and warned at the so-called National Unity Convention that Malays will become “Red Indians in their own land” if UMNO and PAS do not co-operate to defend the government from DAP and PKR.

Hamid was never interested in national unity in the sense of Malaysian unity but only in his concept of Malay unity.

He also did not explain how after 57 years of UMNO government under six UMNO Prime Ministers, Malays and Islam are under threat or whether 57 years of UMNO government under six UMNO Prime Ministers had been such dismal failures that Malays and Islam are under siege today. Read the rest of this entry »

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Zahid is not fit or qualified to be Co-Chairman of the Permanent Committee to act on the RCIIIS findings because of his bias and rejection of the RCIIIS finding on ‘Project IC’

When Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made his first visit to Sabah after the publication of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) on December 3 and his appointment as Co-Chairman of the Permanent Committee to act on the RCIIIS findings, he insisted that there was no ‘Project IC’ responsible for the issue of tens and even hundreds of thousands of illegal or fraudulent identity cards allowing them to be registered as voters to change the political demography in Sabah.

During his visit to Sabah, Zahid outlined the terms of reference for the two committees set up to act on the findings of the RCIIIS – with Zahid, together with the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Musa Aman as the co-chairmen of the Permanent Committee, and Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, as the Chairman of the Working Committee on the RCIIIS Report.

However, something is very amiss, as how can Zahid be the Co-Chairman of the Permanent Committee to act on RCIIIS Report findings when he is biased as he rejects the RCIIIS’ most important finding on ‘Project IC’?

Zahid insists that there had been no “Project IC” but this is not the finding of the RCIIIS. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Everyday Malaysians’ lend support to prominent Malays with #KamiJuga25

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Another group of Malaysians have come up with an open letter in support of reasonable, rational and informed dialogue today, adding to the lively discourse following a similar message by 25 former high-ranking civil servants last week.

Calling itself #KamiJuga25, Malay for “We are 25 too”, the group aims to get “everyday Malaysians” to chip in the conversation in support of the original 25 signatories, not just from the Malay-Muslim community.

“In almost every letter we have seen distinguished recognisable names listed in as signatories. This letter is intended to allow for the everyday Malaysian to also say ‘kami juga 25’,” co-creator Azrul Mohd Khalib told Malay Mail Online.

“It is intended to complement existing efforts and to strengthen the voices which are getting louder by the day,” added Azrul, who is part of social movement called Malaysians for Malaysia.

In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the group urged Malaysian leaders to deliver a country that “promotes inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity”.

“We also believe that it is not only Malay Muslims who have a voice and stake in this country, it is every Malaysian who believes in a common vision and shared destiny, ideals which are no different to when Malaya became independent and Malaysia was born,” the 38-year-old said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iskandar’s plunging fortunes

Khairul Khalid
December 15, 2014

This has been a year to forget for the Iskandar economic region in Johor.

After much lauded growth in the last five years, led by a robust property market, cracks began to show in Iskandar this year. Bullishness about Iskandar’s property market has been replaced with a more cautious, sometimes even bleaker outlook.

What is causing this dwindling optimism about Iskandar? For a start, the numbers don’t lie. Read the rest of this entry »

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Are Malays starting to leave the country?

The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — The South China Morning Post has suggested that Muslim Malays are starting to leave Malaysia as the country’s lurch towards authoritarianism and fundamentalism starts to bite.

A report in the weekend edition of the Hong Kong paper, titled: “Malay Muslims fleeing country as fundamentalism takes hold” painted a grim picture and suggested an exodus of members of the majority race but gave no numbers or hard data.

It cited a female researcher so disgusted with the state of affairs after her shared accommodation with other women was searched for the presence of a man by Islamic authorities on a morality raid that she has resolved to leave the country in two years.

“An anonymous phone call to the religious department alleging a man was seen entering her flat was all it took for the religious officials to descend on her home,” the paper said, adding that six or seven men from the Selangor State Islamic Department (Jais) had entered her flat.

Unaccompanied by any woman, the men were said to have searched all the bedrooms, closets and even under the bed.

“I don’t feel safe in this country anymore,” the researcher was quoted as saying. “It’s like you are guilty until proven innocent. Anyone can make a phone call to accuse another person out of malice or vengeance and, without proof or investigation, the religious authorities will come to your place.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Endorse call on Police to end the year of police harassment of Christians by apologizing and returning the 31 hymn books so that Christmas this year could mark a new beginning for all Malaysians regardless of faith for inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony in Malaysia

All Malaysians of goodwill will endorse the call by the former Bar Council president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan on the authorities to stop harassing Christians.

The police and other enforcement officers must be educated on the 10-point agreement so that they become exemplars in promoting inter-racial and inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony instead of being the vanguard of insensitivity and disrespect for the diverse religions and cultures in Malaysia.

Why has Malaysia, which until recent years have been an oasis in the world for inter-religious tolerance, understanding and harmony, become an outpost for extremism, intolerance, immoderation, hatred and bigotry both on matters of race and religion?

Christmas is only a week away. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should stop being “absentee PM”, declare national economic crisis, form a bipartisan BN-PR Council for National Economic Salvation and summon emergency Parliament

(Winding-Up Speech at the DAP Gelang Patah forum “1MDB in RM42 billion debt – Is Malaysia on the Verge of Financial Turmoil” in Johor Baru on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 10.30 pm)

During the Q-and-A session, a member of the audience asked what should be done in the face of the multiple national crisis confronting the country.

I will make four proposals:

Firstly, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should stop being an “absentee PM”.

Secondly, he should declare a national economic crisis to rally all Malaysians to focus on the multiple economic challenges facing the country, now that Malaysia is regarded as South East Asia’s weakest spot with the multiple plunge of forex and equity markets and current slide in prices of global crude oil and other commodities.

Thirdly, form a bipartisan Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Council for National Economic Salvation.

Fourthly, Najib should be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians, and not for any race, religion or region. As such he should steer clear of politics and policies of exclusion and extremism and advocate politics and policies of inclusion and moderation, where every Malaysian, regardless of race, religion, region, gender, age or even political party, can unite on a common platform to save the country from the looming economic crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

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Never before have there been so many time-bombs ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated

(Speech at the DAP Gelang Patah forum “1MDB in RM42 billion debt – Is Malaysia on the Verge of Financial Turmoil” in Johor Baru on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 8 pm)

My first book “Time Bombs in Malaysia” in 1978 quoted my speech in Parliament on the Third Malaysia Plan in July 1976 where I warned that several time bombs were ticking away in Malaysia and unless these time bombs were defused, Malaysia could be blown to smithereens.

I would never imagine that today, more than 36 years later after the first edition of “Time Bombs in Malaysia”, we are faced with even greater dire straits as never before in our nation’s history have we a situation where so many time-bombs are ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated.

The RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of tonight’s forum, is one such Time Bomb in today’s Malaysia.

This mega financial scandal, exposed by Pakatan Rakyat MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, is now also being questioned by UMNO forces led by former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir, his cohorts like Tun Daim, to the extent that a police report against 1MDB has been lodged by an UMNO division leader, creating huge waves in UMNO.

Until the seventies, when there was greater regard for good governance, public integrity and financial probity, the biggest financial scandal was the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal.

The then Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, who could not stomach any corruption or misuse of power, was shocked by the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal and insisted on parliamentary accountability and a White Paper was issued following a Price Waterhouse inquiry into the Bank Rakyat scandal – and the RM65 million Bank Rakyat was the subject of parliamentary debates and scrutiny in 1979.

Since the eighties, corruption and financial scandals increased by leaps and bounds from the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM600 million Maminco tin-buying scandal and the RM1.5 billion Co-operatives Finance scandal in the 80s, to the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal and RM11 billion Perwaja scandal in the 90s, and the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal in the last decade.

Now, Malaysia has shot into the stratosphere of mega-financial scandals running into tens of billions of ringgit which is becoming the rule rather than the exception, with the RM42 billion 1MDB Scandal reigning currently as the King of Mega Scandals – and I leave to Tony Pua who, together with Rafizi, have become the unchallenged authorities on this “mother of all scandals” to elaborate later at this forum.

But the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is not the only Time Bomb now ticking away in Malaysia. We are faced with a host of economic, financial, political, education, race and religion, nation-building Time Bombs which if not defused or detonated will spell disaster for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the Sabah/Sarawak BN component parties leave Barisan Nasional if UMNO Assemblymen in Kelantan support hudud implementation in the Kelantan State Assembly special meeting on Dec. 29?

The man who is today preening himself with pride in successfully carrying off the “greatest political coup in UMNO history” will be none other than the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who hatched his political plot par excellence with a statement in Parliament on March 27 which completely took PAS leaders by surprise – that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government was prepared to assist the Kelantan PAS State Government to implement hudud laws.

This was a plot to save UMNO and BN, which former Election Commission Chairman/Secretary for 25 years have said are in their “death throes”, and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin conceded that UMNO/BN would be ousted from power if the ruling coalition loses just two per cent of voter support in the next general elections – by creating division in Pakatan Rakyat over the issue of hudud implementation.

But there is also a bonus in the plot – in providing a life-line to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak who is facing relentless attack and the greatest pressure in his five-year nine-month premiership over the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal.

Najib has attracted brickbats over the mega 1MDB scandal not only from Pakatan Rakyat led by MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli but also from inside UMNO led by none other than the formidable fourth Prime Minister of 22 years, Tun Mahathir, and others like Tun Daim.

The Kelantan Special State Assembly on Dec. 29 on the implementation of hudud would be like manna from heaven for Najib, as it would provide precious diversion and distraction from the mega 1MDB scandal! Read the rest of this entry »

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The seized hymn books should be returned to Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam without any delay and police personnel sent for “sensitization” courses to respect multi-religious rights and sensitivities as well as keep up with legal developments

It is sad, shocking and outrageous that 20 days before Christmas, a religious festival which is accorded recognition as a national public holiday, like Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali and Vesak Day, Malaysia is marred by another insensitive incident – the police action in Tangkak on December 5 detaining a Catholic priest Cyril Mannayagam and seizing 31 copies of a hymn book intended for Orang Asli Christians.

Cyril posed no threat to national security and was not doing anything which could by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as subversive or subterfuge as all he did was to ask a bookshop to photocopy 31 copies of a hymn book, titled “Mari Kita Memuji Allah Kita” meant for the Orang Asli parishioners in his congregation at the Church of St Andrew in Muar.

Adding insult to injury, the Tangkak police action was unlawful – an instance of the police breaking the law when they should be upholding the law.

This is because the law the police was using against Cyril, Section 298A of the Penal Code on causing disharmony, disunity or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will on grounds of religion, had been struck down as invalid by the then Supreme Court in 1988 in the case of Mamat bin Daud v Government of Malaysia.

The Supreme Court held that Section 298A of the Penal Code was unconstitutional as it was a provision in the Penal Code and as such had no power to legislate over Islamic matters.

Christmas festivities have started and the 31 hymn books unlawfully seized from Cyril should be returned immediately to the Catholic priest for Christmas celebrations by the Orang Asli Christians.

Let us all spread Christmas joy instead of Christmas grief! Read the rest of this entry »

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Police storm Sydney cafe to end hostage siege, three dead

By Lincoln Feast and Colin Packham
Dec 16, 2014

SYDNEY – Heavily armed Australian police stormed a Sydney cafe on Tuesday and freed a number of hostages being held there at gunpoint, in a dramatic end to a 16-hour siege in which three people were killed and four wounded.

New South Wales police said two men, aged 34 and 50, and a 38-year-old woman died. The attacker was among the fatalities.

Heavy gunfire and blasts from stun grenades filled the air shortly after 2 a.m. local time (1500 GMT on Monday).

Moments earlier at least six people believed to have been held captive managed to flee after gunshots were heard coming from the cafe, and police later confirmed that they made their move in response.

So far 17 hostages have been accounted for.

Medics tried to resuscitate at least one person after the raid and took away several wounded people on stretchers, said a Reuters witness at the scene in downtown Sydney. Bomb squad members moved in to search for explosives, but none were found.

The operation began shortly after a police source named the gunman as Man Haron Monis, an Iranian refugee and self-styled sheikh facing multiple charges of sexual assault as well as being an accessory to murder. Read the rest of this entry »

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