PRESS STATEMENT: 13 October 2010
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) express its protest and disappointment over the latest arrest of seven immigration officers and two foreigners alleged for being involved in human trafficking activities (Source: Berita Harian Online). The detention of the nine under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) is yet another attempt by the government to legitimize the usage of detention without trial despite the public criticism and upon the Prime Minister’s public admission that the ISA is indeed problematic and need to be reviewed.
GMI & Suaram views that the usage of ISA against these individuals are against the fundamental principles of human rights, justice and international human rights standards and pose and inherent danger of abuse of power particularly in terms of torture or cruel and degrading treatment of detainees.
GMI and SUARAM strongly condemn the new arrest under the ISA. GMI and SUARAM would like to know why the government invoked ISA against them even though the country have specific law being the Human trafficking law to curb the Human trafficking activities? GMI and SUARAM values that the security of the country is of utmost importance and does not condone any human trafficking activities, but one’s entitlement to a fair trial should not be deprived on any basis.
In the interim, the Government must immediately guarantee safety of the detainees and he/she should be allowed legal assistance immediately. Under the ISA, detainees can be held for up to 60 days in secret locations and in solitary confinement, often in a windowless cell where they lose all sense of time and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
We strongly criticize the Government for practicing double standards on issues related to ISA. On one hand, it plans to review the ISA but on the other hand, new detention is carried out discreetly as no prior announcements were made. This incident exhibits that the ISA, is an arbitrary law and has been abused in the pretext of national security for political reasons. We urge the government to charge the said detainees in an open court; otherwise, they should be released without any delay and unconditionally.
GMI and SUARAM urge the people of Malaysia to demand for the release of all ISA detainees and for the abolition of this unjust law left behind by the colonial masters once and for all. For 50 years the ISA has been the symbol of injustice and torture in Malaysia.
Abolish the ISA!!!
Release all ISA detainees!!!
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator