PRESS STATEMENT: 18 MAY 2011 Detention under the EO is Arbitrary!

Detention under the EO is Arbitrary!

Suaram expresses disappointment and concern over the detention of the three youths under the Restricted Residence Act (RRA) 1933 for 2 years. The detention orders under the RRA were issued by the Home Minister on 17 May 2011. This has made the habeas corpus applications that Suaram has planned to file has been made academic. The three individuals are Muhamad Arif bin Abu Samah (19 years old), Mohamed Ramadan bin Muhamed Ali (22 years old) and Mohamed Rafe bin Mohamed Ali (20 years old). Muhamad Arif was send to Mersing, Johor (for 2 years), Mohamed Ramdan to Chenon, Pahang (2 years) and Mohamed Rafe to Kulim, Kedah for 2 years as well.
The three were arrested by the Gombak District police officers on the 8th of March 2011 allegedly for involvement for possession of a stolen vehicle in their residential area in Selayang. But until today these allegations against them have not been proven in any court. On the other hand, the three of them have also been brought on a ‘remand roadshow’ by the police before being pinned under the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Crime Prevention). On 19 March 2011, they were served with detention orders under the EO which allows for detention without trial. The three have been detained for 60 days and they were tortured physically and mentally by the police during the entire duration of their detention. They were severely kicked and beaten with iron pipe, wire and aluminum. Other than that, they were also not allowed to meet with lawyer for nearly two months. Besides that, the family members of Mohamed Ramadan and Mohamed Rafe has also been duped by a man calling himself as an Inspector to extort money of RM 13,000 from them.
SUARAM is appalled at the increasing number of youngsters detained under the EO. SUARAM strongly condemns the Minister’s decision to pursue the detention of the youths under the RRA. Worst still, the detainees will most likely face traumatic experiences and difficulties in their new restricted area. Their rights to move freely, rights to education and more importantly, rights to live a better life with their family have been deprived. This is an outright abuse of power by the Minister who has been blindly signing the detention orders. The gross misuse and abuse of the EO on ordinary citizens of the country does not merely lie with the police but with the slipshod manner of the Home Ministry itself.

As of now, more than 1000 persons were being detained without trial under the EO at Simpang Renggam Detention Centre and other detention centres around the country. This number does not include those detained without trial in other police stations around the country. Going by this number of people detained, the EO can be deemed to be ten times worse than the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) which also allows for arbitrary detention.

SUARAM recognizes the responsibility of the Malaysian government to curb crime and to deal with criminals, gangs and syndicates. But the government should not resort to means that violates human rights such as the EO in efforts to address criminal activity. Unfortunately in Malaysia, EO has been frequently abused by the police and government to deal with suspects of petty crimes. This is an outright misuse of power by the police and the Home Ministry in dealing with the EO detainees, particularly when they have absolute power and their decision cannot be challenged in court. Detention of any individual without trial is a violation of fundamental human rights.

SUARAM urges the government to withdraw the restricted order that have been served to the three detainees that have been mention above and immediately release them without any further conditions.

Detention without trial is a gross human rights violation. It violates Article 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 and Article 8 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Federal Constitution which guarantees due process and security of persons.

Therefore, we call up on the government to:
Immediately repeal the EO, DDA and ISA;
Stop arresting youths and minors under the EO and respect their rights as laid out under CRC;
Stop re-arresting individuals under the same law (or any other preventive laws) especially those released by the courts through habeas corpus applications or through the recommendations of the Advisory Board ; if need be, they should be charged under existing criminal laws;
The police should immediately stop making any further arrests under EO ;
All those who are currently detained or restricted under EO should be released immediately or be charged in open court under existing criminal laws.

Released By,
Detention without Trial Coordinator,