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Press Conference: The Batang Kali massacre trial – the end of a very British cover up?
On 8 and 9 May 2012 the High Court will hear a judicial review test case brought by family members of the 24 unarmed men brutally massacred by British soldiers in 1948 at the village of Batang Kali, Malaya.
The family members are seeking a public inquiry or other effective, independent investigation into what happened at Batang Kali, its misrepresentation as lawful and justified by British officials, and the active steps taken to suppress the truth. They will ask the High Court to quash decisions of the Secretaries of State for Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs refusing both that inquiry and investigation.
There will be a press conference at 10.30 AM next Bank Holiday Monday, 7 May 2012, at Bindmans LLP, 4th Floor, 236 Gray’s Inn Road, London with several of the surviving family members, including two who were present as children when the massacre began, their Malaysian and UK-based lawyers and the authors of Slaughter and Deception and Batang Kali.
The trial itself begins at 9.30 am on 8 May 2012 in the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand. Given the importance of the case it will be heard by a Divisional Court (comprising a Lord Justice of Appeal and an experienced High Court Judge).
Notes for editors:-
1. The case (R (Chong Nyok Keyu & Others) v Secretaries of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Defence - CO/1827/2011) is a judicial review of the refusal to hold an inquiry or properly investigate. The families are not asking the Court to award them compensation.
2. Present at the press conference will be:
• Loh Ah Choi, the second claimant in the judicial review case – his uncle Loh Kit Lin, a student, was shot in the stomach on 11 December 1948 then ‘finished off’ as he lay wounded on the ground. Loh Ah Choi was being taken away by lorry with other women and children from the village as 23 male villagers were walked from the village huts and executed;
• Chong Koon Ying - also present in the village as a child;
• Lim Ah Yin – a further witness who was age 11 when the killings took place;
• Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor - authors of Slaughter and Deception and Batang Kali , a detailed expose of the killings and their cover up;
• Quek Ngee Meng and Firoz Hussein - Malaysian based lawyers involved in the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre (http://batangkalimassacre.wordpress.com/);
• John Halford of Bindmans LLP, one of the families’ UK-based lawyers.
The families will be represented in Court by barristers Michael Fordham QC, Danny Friedman and Professor Zachary Douglas.
3. The Batang Kali massacre occurred during what was referred to as the ‘Malayan emergency’, a guerrilla war between colonial forces and the communist Malayan National Liberation Army, who were principally of Chinese ethnic origin. A counter-insurgency operation was launched in the Selangor region, now in peninsular Malaysia, because British forces had received intelligence of ‘bandit’ (insurgent) activity there. As part of this operation, between 11 and 12 December 1948 soldiers of the 7th Platoon, G Company, 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards surrounded and took control of the village of Batang Kali, part of a British-owned rubber tapping estate. None of the villagers was wearing a military uniform or emblem. None was armed, and none offered any violence to the patrol. In those circumstances, there was simply no basis or justification for the use of lethal force. However, over the course of two days the patrol shot dead 24 unarmed Chinese rubber tappers – all but two of the adult men of the village. Many of the victims’ bodies were mutilated. The village was burned to the ground, leaving the victims’ dependents destitute. The bodies were left where they lay, and had begun to decompose by the time the women and children were allowed to return. One was found beheaded.
4. In contrast to similar incidents elsewhere in the world (e.g. the My Lai massacre by US troops during the Vietnam war and the massacre at of villagers at Rawagede, Indonesia) there has been no proper investigation into the Batang Kali incident. The UK authorities have never apologised or accepted anything done was wrong; on the contrary, a demonstrably false ‘official account’ has been disseminated, including in statements to Parliament.
5. For further information contact John Halford, Partner, Bindmans LLP 0207 833 4433, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jonathan Robinson, Head of Marketing, Bindmans LLP 0207 833 4433 email@example.com
For more information please visit www.bindmans.com