Press Statement: 6 March 2012
Muhamad Arif bin Abu Samah, Mohamed Ramadan bin Muhamed Ali and Mohamed Rafe bin Mohamed Ali Released after Long Battle against EO Detention!
SUARAM welcomes the release of the three EO detainees whose freedoms have been curtailed since March 2011. The Deputy Home Minister has ordered that the Trio be released from the restriction order. The three youths are Muhamad Arif bin Abu Samah (20 years old), Mohamed Ramadan bin Muhamed Ali (23 years old) and Mohamed Rafe bin Mohamed Ali (21years old). According to the lawyers, the clients are very relieved and happy with this news and hope their ordeal is now over.
The boys have at all times maintained that the allegations against them were trumped-up and wholly false, having been used as scapegoats to ‘solve’ a string of petty motorcycle thefts crimes in their area and the KDN have to date failed to substantiate any of the allegations of crime made against them.
The three were arrested by the Gombak District police officers on the 8th of March 2011 for alleged involvement for possession of a stolen vehicle in their residential area in Selayang. But until today allegations against them have not been proven in any court. On the other hand, the three of them have also been brought on a 2-month ‘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 were detained for 60 days. They were tortured physically and mentally by the police during the entire duration of their detention. They were severely kicked and beaten on their body and feet with iron pipe, wire and aluminum. During their 2-month detention, they were also denied legal representation. Besides that, the family members of Mohamed Ramadan and Mohamed Rafe were also duped by a man calling himself as an Inspector to extort money of RM13,000 from them.
They were then served restriction orders under the EO for 2 years. The restriction orders were issued by the Deputy Home Minister on 17 May 2011. This had made the habeas corpus applications that were planned by SUARAM and the lawyers academic. Muhamad Arif was sent to Mersing, Johor (for 2 years), Mohamed Ramdan to Chenor, Pahang (2 years) and Mohamed Rafe to Kulim, Kedah for 2 years as well.
On 22nd of June, the three youths applied for judicial review at the Shah Alam High Court against the restriction orders under the EO. In addition, the three youths also asked the court to compel Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the 1969 Emergency Proclamation and the EO.
The case was heard on 25th August 2011. During the hearing for leave application, Judicial Commissioner Ahmad Zaki Husin granted an adjournment to the Senior Federal Counsel to allow the filing of written submissions on the points of objections raised by the Attorney General’s Chambers and the hearing date was fixed on 5th October 2011.
On 5 October 2011, the court case was postponed. Syahredzan Johan, counsel for the trio withdrew those parts of the application for leave to apply for judicial review as the Prime Minister had announced that he will repeal the emergency laws. Leave to apply for judicial review purely against the restriction orders were allowed by consent.
On 5 December 2011, the lawyers for the trio (Mohd Arif, Ramadhan and Rafee) wrote to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) again to seek the release of the trio. However, the request that had been made by the parents was that while the boys continue to be held under Restricted Residence, the location of such RR be changed to their respective homes in Selangor, instead of in Kedah, Pahang and Johor respectively, while at all times still agreeing to comply with the Restrictions i.e. sign-in with police, curfew etc. IGP in his reply maintained that he could not grant a release to the boys since the EO legislation is still in place.
The work of the legal team and SUARAM also received the full support of the Malaysian Bar Council. The President of the Bar Council had numerous meetings with the IGP and Minister of Home Minister to seek the trio’s release.
Lifting of Emergency Proclamations
On 24November 2011, three existing emergency proclamations were lifted, rendering the Emergency Public Order and Prevention of Crime Ordinance 1969 (EO) void. In accordance with clause (7) Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, the EO would lapse in May, six months after the proclamations are lifted.
Thereafter, the trio by their lawyers’ letter dated 3rd February 2012 once asked the Minister again to release them unconditionally. It was in response to this that the Deputy Minister has today lifted the restriction orders against the three.
We believe this decision to release the three is in line with the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance (EO) proclamations including (Emergency ordinance – Public Order and prevention of Crime). We regret that the Minister is not immediately releasing all those detained or held under restricted residence under the EO, and is making many other detainees wait. All those held under these detentions or restriction order must be released from EO without any further conditions immediately, and charged in Court if applicable.
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:
- 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.
- Stop enacting any laws which allows detention without trial