Misinformed Minister or Minister Ignorant of Issues under Portfolio?

For Immediate Release
13 July 2016

SUARAM is surprised by Deputy Home Minister, Nur Jazlan’s views suggesting that Malaysia adopts a ‘soft’ legal approach in addressing the issue of terrorism and shocked by his belief that torture has not been used against alleged terror suspects in Malaysia.

SUARAM has documented countless cases and incidents where torture was used as the primary means to extract a confession or to coerce a false confession from suspects that were arrested on suspicion of committing an offence. The practice of violence also extends to alleged terror suspects and such incidents have been thoroughly documented and reported by SUARAM throughout the years. The families of the victims of torture has also filed their respective report to SUHAKAM and other relevant agencies for investigations.

Further, contrary to the view that Malaysia’s law on terrorism is soft, the provision that enables detention without trial such as the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 makes it abundantly clear that our laws are not ‘soft’ as described. The application of different type of ‘preventive’ laws on a suspect for the same offence makes the existing laws that are already uncompromising no better than the practices of Guantanamo Bay.

The minister’s ignorance on these issues and the inability to understand the concept of ‘soft’ legal approach against terrorism would suggests that the minister would require further sensitization on the issues under his portfolio. Failure to be up-to-date on these crucial issue may very well put the safety and security of Malaysia in jeopardy.

In Solidarity

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

Justice for Dharmendran Must be Pursued

For Immediate Release
1st July 2016

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is disappointed with the decision reached by the court in the prosecution of police officers that allegedly caused the death of N. Dharmendran in police custody.

In April 2016, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) delivered a substantive report on the death of N. Dharmendran. The report’s findings suggest that some police officers were directly or indirectly involved with altering documentations and evidences relating to the death of N. Dharmendran. Further, the report also highlights the weak links in the operating procedures of the Royal Malaysian Police on custodial death and recommended for actions to be taken against officers responsible for illegally altering documentations and records relating to N. Dharmendran’s detention.

In light of the availability of clear evidence indicating complicity, it is of paramount importance that criminal sanction made against all those responsible for causing the death of the Dharmendran. With the clear evidence of physical violence against the deceased, failure to prosecute would be a travesty of justice. If the prosecution is incapable of producing sufficient evidence for a charge of murder, the prosecution must re-evaluate its approach to the case.

To this end, SUARAM calls for the prosecution to seek an appeal against the decision by the courts and ensure that justice is done. SUARAM reiterate our previous call for prosecution for other officers that were complicit in altering the evidences relating to the death of N. Dharmendran and ensure that all that were involved with the case would not escape justice.

In Solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

Joint Press Statement by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia, Bar Council Malaysia, Suara Rakyat Malaysia and Lawyers for Liberty in Conjunction with the International Day In Support of Victims of Torture

KUALA LUMPUR (27 June 2016) – Nearly two decades ago on 12 December 1997, the United Nations General Assembly saw it fit to proclaim 26 June as the annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Torture, including abuse and ill-treatment at the hands of the state, had become a matter of grave international concern. The UN looked to governments for more effective measures to fight against torture through the adoption of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, referred to as the UN Convention against Torture (UN CAT).
On 26 June 2015, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Bar CouncilMalaysia, Amnesty International Malaysia, Lawyers for Liberty and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) embarked on the #ACT4CAT Campaign with the objective of advocating for Malaysia’s accession to UN CAT and promoting greater understanding and appreciation of the need to prevent and eliminate all acts of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in the country.
In conjunction with the first anniversary of the #ACT4CAT Campaign, we, partners of the Campaign, renew our commitment to undertake concerted efforts towards achieving the goal of the Campaign, and call upon the Government of Malaysia to:
1. Accede to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and
2. Take the necessary legislative, policy and administrative measures to ensure the effective prevention of any practice that could lead to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
Bar Council Malaysia
Amnesty International Malaysia
Lawyers for Liberty

Justice for Dharmendran & Family: Take Action Immediately!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) report on the death of N. Dharmendran and call on the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Royal Malayian Police to take immediate actions based on the EAIC’s report.

The issue of custodial death has plagued Malaysia since time immemorial with select members of Royal Malaysian Police showing complete disregard for custodial death. Some members of the Royal Malaysian Police have shown their inclination to manipulate the evidences in order to protect their interests such as in the case of A. Kugan. The damning report by EAIC leaves no doubt that those that were complicit in causing the death must be punished accordingly in order to deter future offenders and for the Royal Malaysian Police to restore its image and integrity.

To this end, SUARAM calls for immediate and drastic steps to be taken by the Royal Malaysian Police. All officers directly implicated by EAIC report must be suspended from duty immediately pending a formal disciplinary action. If EAIC report is found to be accurate, these officers must be immediately discharged from the force.

The EAIC have clearly indicated that selected members of Royal Malaysian Police have disregarded Para 33 of the Inspector General of Police’s Standing Order (IGSO) Part A ‘118’ and acted directly against the IGP’s order. The Inspector General of Police should cease his attempts to discredit EAIC report and undertake immediate steps to remedy the problem at hand. Failure to adhere to the ISGO also clearly contravenes the IGP earlier claims that the Royal Malaysian Police is always professional in their conduct. The cause of non-compliance with ISGO must be thoroughly investigated.

In light of the ample evidence against officers that were complicit in the death of N. Dharmendran, the Attorney General’s Chambers must initiate prosecution against those involved. Failure to do so would undoubtedly raise the perception that the criminal justice system in Malaysia as biased and favours enforcement agencies. With the Royal Malaysian Police compromised by two damning reports from EAIC and falling public perceptions, the Attorney General’s Chambers must take steps to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.

SUARAM would like to remind all those concerned that failure to act would result in further injustice and put thousands of detainees at further risk of harm. Immediate steps must be taken to address this gross human rights violations and ensure that custodial death would not reoccur. SUARAM would also like to acknowledge the comprehensive report and investigation by EAIC and look forward to the conclusion of other investigations by EAIC.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director


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