Press Statement : 3rd August 2012
ABOLISH ISA MOVEMENT (GMI-Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA) & SUARAM
EARLY RELEASE A PROOF THAT MINISTER HAS POWER
GMI welcomes the decision of the Home Minister to release three detainees in the third week of July 2012. GMI believes this is a result of continuing campaign held by GMI together with the people to release the ISA45 and the impact of the hunger strike launched by the detainees in Kamunting Detention centre (KEMTA).
According to GMI’s records, the three detainees are:-
1. Loganthan a/l Sanmugam, Malaysian, detained in 2010 for alleged human trafficking;
2. P. Valentine Jayakumar, Sri Lanka national, detained in 2010 for alleged human trafficking; and
3. Malik Rehmat Ali Syakir , Pakistan national, detained in 2010 for alleged human trafficking.
According to GMI’s information, the detention orders of the three were supposed to lapse in August, September and December 2012 respectively. To date, there remains 42 detainees in KEMTA. The breakdown is as follows:- 19 Malaysians, 6 Indonesia nationals, 5 Sri Lanka nationals, 3 Pakistan nationals, 2 India nationals, 1 Bangladesh national, 2 Iraq nationals and 3 Philippines nationals.
The early release was confirmed by Home Ministry’s Chief Assistant Secretary of Security and Public Peace Department, Encik Aswanjaya Abd Karim. According to Aswanjaya, the early release of the three was a result of a Security Report that was submitted to the Home Minister.
Nevertheless, GMI is dismayed at the arbitrary powers of the Home Minister to exercise selective release of ISA detainees. This begs the question on the fate of the remaining detainees. Were they not supposed to be released since the ISA 1960 has already been repealed? What was the motive behind these early releases? We call upon the Home Minister to immediately release all remaining detainees.
Early release is proof of people’s meritorious claims
The early release is a proof of GMI and the people’s meritorious claims. The Home Minister indeed, has the absolute power to release detainees arbitrarily regardless of the period stipulated in the detention order. GMI does not see any rationale in the Home Ministry’s reluctance in releasing all remaining detainees in KEMTA.
From GMI’s constant communication with families of detainees, we observe that detainees are in the dark over the status of investigations being carried out on the allegations levelled against them. The detainees are merely locked up without having informed on the investigation and the processes that they are going through and/or soon to go through. The detainees are in fact, just waiting for the lapse of their detention order in KEMTA.
The Home Minister can order early release of detainees
GMI urges the Home Ministry to release the remaining 42 ISA detainees and provide its reasons to justify the decision not to release the remaining detainees. In view of the early release, the answer given by the Home Minister on previous occasion that all detainees have to serve the entire period of the detention order is now irrelevant.
GMI does not view the excuse of the Home Ministry that early release would present a risk of security as credible simply because the detainees have been in detention for more than a year under strict supervision and control of KEMTA authorities. GMI proposes that the Home Minister present to the public on the benchmark of what constitutes a risky detainee and the mechanism in arriving in that conclusion.
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh
SUARAM Right to Trial coordinator