Torture Must not be Condoned! Investigate and Punish Offenders and Ratify UNCAT!

For Immediate Release
19 February 2016

Torture Must not be Condoned! Investigate and Punish Offenders and Ratify UNCAT!

SUARAM strongly condemns all form of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in Malaysia.

Between the countless death in police custody recorded over the years and the accounts provided by former Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) detainees, the use of torture by enforcement agency in Malaysia is a known secret. The similarity between the treatment experienced by SOSMA detainees and the former ISA detainees suggests that the use of torture is not only systemic but endemic in cases of detention without trial!

Based on the allegations and reports received by SUARAM, detainees have been subjected to the following acts:

  • Used as a punching bag by officers
  • Repeatedly slapped and beaten despite cooperating with the investigation
  • Threatened at gun point during questioning
  • Forced to strip naked and sexually harassed by officers
  • Kept in a ‘dark room’ and beaten by several officers
  • Threats against family members during questioning
  • Kept in an air conditioned room after being drenched in water
  • Forced to confess to alleged crimes during questioning
  • Whole family arrested and roughed up by officers
  • Wife threatened and beaten without reason during arrest
  • Beaten in the police vehicle after arrest
  • Forced to stand in an uncomfortable position with a piece of wood with detainee’s hands cuffed behind him
  • Placed under severe emotional duress throughout the detention period through the use of threat against detainee and their family members

Recalling the moral and legal obligations of the Government of Malaysia under international law and human rights declaration that Malaysia is a party to, SUARAM remind the Government of Malaysia and all related agencies to fulfil its obligations under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration and recommendation 146.125 and 146.127 of the Malaysia’s 2nd Universal Periodic Review.

For justice to be done for the victims of torture and to prevent further use of torture in Malaysia. SUARAM calls on the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) to conduct immediate investigations into the allegations made by SOSMA detainees and review the standard operating procedure of the Royal Malaysian Police on use of torture.

SUARAM also call upon all enforcement agencies uphold its legal and moral obligations to the people of Malaysia and issue a clear and firm statement condemning the use of torture and take positive and proactive steps in investigating the allegations made and punish those that are guilty of torturing others.

Further, prevention of torture cannot be achieved without political will. On this note, SUARAM calls on all political parties to adopt a stance against the use of torture and push for the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)!

Last but not least, the security laws that provides detention without trial which creates a platform for secretive and opaque ‘questioning sessions’ that is seemingly rife with torture cannot be allowed to continue unabated and must be put to an end immediately!

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

 

Comments from United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR), Regional Office for South-East Asia

‪#‎Malaysia‬: We are seriously concerned by allegations of torture and degrading treatment of seven individuals charged with suspected terrorism under the controversial Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

We call on the authorities to urgently conduct an impartial and thorough investigation into these allegations. We also urge the Malaysian Government to sign and ratify the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

In the wake of the attacks in Jakarta last week and the bombing in Bangkok last summer, which have stoked fears across the region, we urge all governments to ensure human rights are protected in their efforts to counter terrorism.

As stated by High Commissioner Zeid earlier this week, the rise of violent extremism and extremist thinking has greatly affected the way in which governments approach human rights. Regrettably repressive measures can actually produce more extremist thinking and unless the governments’ policies support a human rights agenda, extremist ideologies will be reinforced.

Original post can be found here.

Use of Torture in Malaysia Must Be Investigated and Stopped!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) strongly condemn the use of all forms of torture by any individuals, organizations and governments. The use of torture clearly contravenes all recognized international human rights principles and international law.

The appalling revelations brought forward by lawyers and SOSMA detainee is deplorable to say the least. In a world where the use of torture is internationally condemned and rejected, the possibility where that Government of Malaysia is unofficially or inadvertently complicit in the use of torture must be investigated and ascertained.

While reports that torture was systematically used against Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) detainees were prevalent, such practices were thought to be a relic of the past with the abolishment of the ISA. The reports submitted by the lawyers and SOSMA detainees makes it clear that the use of torture is not a relic of a past but a tool of the present!

Acknowledging the severe emotional and physical trauma that torture would inflict upon individuals and the implications to the integrity of the criminal justice system of Malaysia, SUARAM calls upon Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) to conduct immediate investigations into the alleged use of torture by the authorities. These revelations also suggest that the existing mechanism for accountability and compliance is insufficient and that the IPCMC is very much needed for accountability and compliance with international standards.

SUARAM demand that the Government of Malaysia establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the use of torture in Malaysia and issue a clear statement condemning the use of torture by any enforcement agencies.

Further, SUARAM believes that the use of torture can only take place in the absence of judicial oversight and transparent investigation procedures. For the use of torture to be put to an end, laws such the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 (DDA) that gives room for torture to take place must be abolished!

Lastly, SUARAM demand that the Government of Malaysia to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

Failure to do so would imply that the Government of Malaysia officially condones and uphold the use of torture in Malaysia contrary to its obligations under international human rights and international law!

 

In solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director
SUARAM

Court says SOSMA not applicable, SUARAM calls it abuse of power! SOSMA must go!

For immediate release
18th November 2015

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the decision by the High Court in the case of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and his lawyer Matthias Chang.

The decision to reject the charges against Khairuddin Abu Hassan and Matthias Chang is a courageous step forward for the Judiciary of Malaysia. While it is unfortunate that Khairuddin and Matthias would still have to stand trial for the crime of highlighting possible corruption in Malaysia, the small victory is still a welcomed news in these turbulent times.

Further, SUARAM call for the Attorney General to consider dropping the charges filed against Khairuddin and Matthias as the court have rejected their ‘crimes’ as an security offence. Failure to do so would contravene the Attorney General’s statement that prosecution would not take place unless he is certain of 99% chance of conviction. In this case, the decision by the High Court clearly sided the 1% and should thus be an end to this ill-advised misadventure.

On this note, SUARAM reiterate our stance that laws such as SOSMA that permits detention without trial is a draconian and unconscionable law that should not exist and MUST be repealed. The abuse of such laws in Malaysia is not uncommon and the case of Khairuddin and Matthias highlights the danger. Lastly, draconian laws such as SOSMA is not the way to protect the safety and security of Malaysia but the first step in converting Malaysia into a police state. As Malaysians, we must not allow this to be our future!

 
In Solidarity,
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director