KAJANG: Batu MP Tian Chua was released from jail today after serving a month in the Kajang prison.
Tian Chua said he was awoken by the wardens at 5am and let out of prison by 7am.
Speaking to a crowd of about 150 who were awaiting his release, he said he was happy to be out after a month of “resting”.
“They probably saw the crowd here and rushed to let me out,” he added.
PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali, Bersih 2.0 chief Maria Chin Abdullah and its secretariat member Mandeep Singh were among those in the crowd.
PKR supporters there also urged Tian Chua to release a dove as a symbol of his freedom.
Tian Chua said his imprisonment was a sacrifice he had been willing to make as part of the struggle against the government for fairness and a just democratic nation.
“Part of the price to pay is to take such a risk. So it is nothing to be afraid of as it is a normal process,” he added.
He also thanked the prison staff who had taken care of him and attended to his needs.
He said to pass time in prison, he had read 15 books, written, and done some drawing.
Tian Chua was jailed for a month for refusing to obey a police order to leave a restricted area following the Bersih 3 rally in 2012.
In a surprise move on Sept 28, he withdrew his final appeal against his conviction and discharged his lawyer N Surendran.
He said that accepting his custodial sentence was not an admission of wrongdoing, but an effort to highlight the wrongs of the government.
Tian Chua was arrested along with 500 other people during the Bersih rally on April 28, 2012, and sent to the Police Training Centre (Pulapol) in Cheras, which was a restricted area.
Last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court upheld the Session Court’s 2014 decision to fine and jail him for refusing a police order to leave the Pulapol premises.
The court ruled that the conviction was safe, even though the written judgment from the late trial judge Mahmud Abdullah was not signed or dated.
Mahmud, who died in May 2014, had only delivered an oral decision on the matter.
The judges said the decision was nonetheless valid as the PKR vice-president’s case had gone through a full trial.
During his original trial, Tian Chua testified that he was not aware that the zone he had entered was restricted, adding that he only discovered this after he was charged with the offence.
This was Tian Chua’s second conviction in 2016. He was also fined RM1,800 and jailed for three months by another Sessions Court on Sept 28, for making seditious statements during a forum four years ago.
Earlier this year, he was fined RM3,000 by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for insulting a police officer using vulgar words, three years ago.
He risks losing his qualification to stand in the general election if he cannot reduce his RM3,000 fine.
This is according to Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, which disqualifies a person from being an MP for five years should the elected representative be convicted and sentenced to more than one year in jail, or fined more than RM2,000.