Suhakam regrets police arrests, 30 GMI activists released

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 22:58:00 (malay mail)

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commision of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) expresses its regret over the inability of the public to assemble peacefully during the 50 years of ISA vigil that took place on Aug 1 at Dataran Petaling Jaya. SUHAKAM was present at the event to observe and monitor the situation.

SUHAKAM, through its observation, found that the right to assembly was denied during the event as the authorities stopped the gathering and dispersed the crowds with much haste. Proper warning and ample time to disperse were not given by the authorities, thus resulting in a commotion where 22 men and 8 women were arrested because they were suspected as participants of the vigil.

SUHAKAM has consistently urged the Government to consider and take into account the recommendations made by the Commission on freedom of assembly as expressed in the reports relating to the Kesas Highway and KLCC “Bloody Sunday” Inquiries. SUHAKAM would therefore recommend that in the event where the police finds it necessary to control or disperse a crowd, proportionate and nonviolent methods should be employed.

SUHAKAM strongly reiterates its stand that the people have the right to participate in peaceful assemblies, as all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms as guaranteed by Article 10 (1) (b) of the Federal Constitution. The right to freedom of assembly is also guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 20 (1).

SUHAKAM also wishes to address the ordeal of the detainees of the vigil at the Petaling Jaya police station where the authorities requested the lawyers to provide separate witness statements. This unusual practice forced the lawyers to pull out from giving legal counsel to the detainees. Apart from that, SUHAKAM feels that the authorities could have expedited the process of bail at the police station as the detainees had to endure long hours before they could be released.

However, SUHAKAM wishes to record that full cooperation was extended by the Police to the Commission which enabled  SUHAKAM to observe and monitor the 50 years of ISA vigil and the recording of statements at the Petaling Jaya police station.

TAN SRI HASMY AGAM,
Chairman
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

News source: http://mmail.com.my/content/45087-suhakam-regrets-police-arrests-30-gmi-activists-released

NATIONWIDE ANTI ISA RALLY IN CONJUCTION WITH 50 YEARS OF ISA: SUCCESS DESPITE OF POLICE BRUTALITY!

PRESS STATEMENT: 2 AUGUST 2010

NATIONWIDE ANTI ISA RALLY IN CONJUCTION WITH 50 YEARS OF ISA:  SUCCESS DESPITE OF POLICE BRUTALITY!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) strongly condemns the abuse of police powers in cracking down on peaceful Anti ISA candlelight vigils held simultaneously at several states such as Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

POLICE BRUTALITY – A NEVER ENDING STORY!

The nationwide Anti ISA vigil was organized by GMI and SUARAM to oppose the Internal Security Act (ISA) in conjunction with the 50th anniversary since the ISA was enacted on 1st of August 1960. In total, 38 participants were arrested during the Anti ISA vigil including GMI Chairperson, Syed Ibrahim, and SUARAM Coordinators Nalini Elumalai, Ong Jing Cheng, Kohila (Secretariat Member), Choo Chon Kai (Penang Branch Secretariat Member) and Arutchelvan (Director of SUARAM). Although this number is comparatively lower than the Anti ISA Rally last year when 589 people including minors were arrested; the 38 arrests by the police yesterday were unnecessary as it was a peaceful vigil.

The police in Petaling Jaya, Penang and Kelantan were far more brutal and arrogant compared to the other states. Although intimidation by the police occurred in other states, the real “champion” of the brutality was the Petaling Jaya Police Chief Arjunaidi Mohamed. Arjunaidi was arrogant and completely unprofessional when dealing with the crowd. He did not allow time for the crowd to disperse or to put it bluntly; he did not know the proper process to disperse a peaceful assembly. In addition, his police officers were brutal and violent when arresting participants. Although the Bar Council and SUHAKAM Commissioners were monitoring the situation at the vigil, the actions of the police proved that they had complete disregard for the basic human rights.

These arrests are a case of abuse of power by the government machineries and a failure to protect and uphold the fundamental rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution. We are deeply shocked and disturbed by this blatant transgression of the rule of law.

THE ISA SHOULD BE REPEALED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT

Facing widespread criticism both at home and abroad, the ISA has badly damaged Malaysia’s reputation and this lead the government to finally propose a review of the ISA. However, it is clear that they have no intention of relinquishing this formidable and invaluable crutch of power. They are going all out to sell the idea of amendment, rather than repeal. Considering the history of the ISA, it seems very likely that these amendments will be minor and merely cosmetic, and will not achieve anything in terms of removing its elements of injustice and violation of human rights.

In conjunction with 50 years of ISA, we challenge the Prime Minister Najib Razak to abolish the ISA immediately. SUARAM and GMI will never compromise on the issue of detention without trial. All Acts which allow or have resulted in oppression, torture and abuse of people should have no place in the statutes, and should be abolished without delay. We once again remind the government that we will not stay quiet until we witness the draconian ISA abolished!

Demands Reiterated

SUARAM strongly urges the government to repeal all detention-without- trial laws as these legislations severely violate fundamental human rights. SUARAM also reiterate several other longstanding demands to the government, including:

The immediate establishment of an independent and effective oversight monitoring body to ensure accountability in the police force such as the Independent Police Commission on Misconduct and Complaints (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Police Commission

SUARAM and GMI also would like to take this opportunity to thank all the brave Malaysians who turned up yesterday to support the call of the abolition of the ISA. In addition, we would like extend our gratitude to SUHAKAM and Bar Council Human Rights Committee for sending official monitoring teams and finally, to the lawyers from the Bar Council Legal Aid Centre for their roles in upholding Human Rights in Malaysia.

Salam Perjuangan.

Released by,

Nalini.E
SUARAM Coordinator and GMI Secretariat

Anti-ISA protesters arrested

News source: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/news/general/8648-anti-isa-protesters-arrestedBy Patrick Lee

UPDATED PETALING JAYA: The police have arrested 25 people after cracking down on a candlelight vigil held here in protest of the security law.
Among those arrested were Anti-ISA movement president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Saharin and Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arutchelvan.

Four more activists were arrested in Penang.

The protest, which took place at several locations nationwide, was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the law, which allows detention without trial.

In Petaling Jaya, anti-riot personnel moved in on some 300 protesters when they started singing the national anthem at 8pm.

The protesters were stopped from making their way to the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) field, as the police declared the gathering an illegal assembly.

When chased, the protesters fled into the nearby Amcorp Mall amid chants of “Hidup Rakyat” with the police in pursuit.

Following this, the protesters attempted to march to the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre but this was thwarted by the police, and the crowd retreated back into the mall.

Later, the crowd gathered outside the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters, where those arrested were taken, and sang the Negaraku and lit candles.

Once again the police moved in to disperse the protesters, who then sought refuge in nearby mamak stalls.

‘Violent and unacceptable’
The police’s action was condemned by several quarters, with a Bar Council’s Siti Kassim calling it “violent and unacceptable”.

Rights group Suaram director Kua Kia Soong was “disgusted”.

“This could have been a peaceful protest… it’s going to make Malaysia more of a police state,” he said, adding that it was the first time he had seen policemen storming a mall.

Kua said it was “shameful” that Malaysia still had laws like the ISA, but the police’s behaviour was even more embarrassing.
Human rights lawyer N Surendran told reporters that the “true face” of Malaysia was revealed tonight.
“Some of the lawyers have been denied entry (into the police headquarters), the police are being very difficult,” he added.
Wan Intan, who operates a stall in Amcorp Mall, also expressed disappointment with the police.
“The police should be taking care of the situation… it was dangerous for them to rush into the mall like that. We didn’t know that there was going to be a protest, the police should have informed us,” she said.

Police chief: We had no choice
Speaking to reporters later, Petaling Jaya police chief Arjunaidi Mohamed said his men were forced to act against the protesters.

“We had no choice. They defied our orders (to disperse) and were advancing towards us,” he said, adding that six women were among those detained.

“We told them to disperse, but they refused and went into Amcorp Mall. When they came out, they scolded the police and challenged us, so we arrested them,” he said.
Arjunaidi said the organiser did not obtain a police permit.

As for the organiser’s claim that MBPJ had issued them a permit, he said: “The council is not the authority to issue such permits and the organiser, with their legal knowledge, should have known this.”
He also chided the protesters for bringing their children along.

In Ipoh, scores of policemen stood guard at the Dataran Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh and the area had been cordoned off whereas in Penang, the police had posted notices warning the public not to participate in the illegal assembly.

Police intolerance to freedom of assembly, 25 arrested at vigil to oppose ISA

Urgent appeal: 01 August 2010
The authority’s intolerance to peaceful assembly continued, when the police arrested 21 persons at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya and 4 at Penang during a nationwide candle light vigil in conjunction with 50 years of ISA before the event started. Police had move into Amcorp Mall to arrest most of the peoples.
Those people arrested at Petaling Jaya are:
  1. Syed Ibrahim – chairperson of GMI
  2. Suresh Kumar
  3. Mohd Fiqtriey
  4. Naqiuddin Sahar
  5. Albert Ang Yik Chuan
  6. Yew Hun Ng
  7. Bahrulhisham
  8. Enalini Elumalai
  9. Arulchevan
  10. Mien Lor
  11. Thilaga Sokiapillay
  1. Tsuing Han See
  2. Kohila Y.
  3. Bawani K.
  4. Parames E.
  5. Sivaranjani
  6. Lee Wei Ni
  7. Ng Yap Hwa
  8. E. Sarawanen
  9. Xavier Sim Yoon Han
  10. Aiman Siew Teck Meng
Those peoples arrested at Penang are:
  1. Choo Chon Kai
  2. Kris Khaira
  3. Darshan Singh
  4. Ong Jing Cheng – Suaram Penang branch Coordinator
Beside the above, the Kelantan vigil’s coordinator Zaidi Musa and Hamidi Musa were hold by police for investigation after the vigil successful reach to the end.
SUARAM strongly condemns the police for their continued attacks on freedom of expression, a fundamental right which is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Released By,
Moon Hui
SUARAM Coordinator
Urgent action needed:

Please write protest letters to the government and the police to express your strongest condemnation of the arrests and the ongoing denial of rights of expression. Please also demand the Malaysian government to allow Malaysian citizen to practice their freedom of expression as stated in Federal Constitution.
Please call and send your protest letters to:
1. Ketua Polis Daerah Petaling Jaya
Ibupejabat Polis DaerahPetaling Jaya
Polis Diraja Malaysia
Petaling Jaya
Jalan Pencala
46050 Selangor
Tel:  03-79662222 
Fax: 03-79548740
2. Ketua Polis Negeri Selangor
Ketua Polis Negeri Selangor
Ibu Pejabat Polis Kontinjen Selangor
Polis Diraja Malaysia
40000 Shah Alam, Selangor
Tel: 03-55145222
Fax: 03-55195175
3. Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
 SAMPLE LETTER[Letterhead of your organisation]Inspector-General of Police
Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Ibu Pejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia,
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Tel: +603 2262 6015
Fax: +603 2272 5613
Dear Sir,Re: Release the 25 persons arrested

We are writing to you to express our outrage and our strongest condemnation over the arrests of 25 individuals at Padang Timur and Penang just now (01 August 2010). They were arrested for attending to the nationwide candle light vigil in conjunction with 50 years of ISA. They had brought to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters and Pulau Penang Jelutong police station.

We are appalled by the police’s latest actions and view this as yet another attempt to intimidate Malaysian citizens from exercising their freedom to express their views.

We demand that the two to be released immediately and unconditionally. We further demand that the police force should stop the assault on freedom of expression and focus on fighting of crime.
We would like to remind you that freedom of expression is guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.Yours sincerely,[Name]

PRESS RELEASE-MALAYSIA: 50 Draconian Years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) – Repeal All Detention-without-Trial Laws Now!

 SUARAM - OMCT - FIDH (Under embargo until Sunday 1st August 2010 0h01 Kuala Lumpur time)  PRESS RELEASE MALAYSIA: 50 Draconian Years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) – Repeal All Detention-without-Trial Laws Now! Kuala Lumpur – Geneva - Paris, 1st August 2010. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Internal Security Act (ISA), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and their member organisation in Malaysia, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), jointly reiterate their call on the Government of Malaysia to take all necessary measures to repeal this law and release all individuals still detained under the ISA.  
Since its enactment in 1960, succeeding emergency laws aimed at combating the communist insurgency during the 1940s and 1950s, the ISA has facilitated serious human rights abuses, including torture and ill-treatment, and has therefore been repeatedly denounced, including by local human rights groups in Malaysia and again recently, in June, by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention during its mission to Malaysia[1].  The ISA, which allows for arrest without warrant and detention without trial for a term of two years renewable indefinitely in clear violation ofinternationally recognised human rights standards relating to fair trials, has been invoked against those who commit acts deemed to be “prejudicial to the security of Malaysia”, or threatening to the “maintenance of essential services” or “economic life”. These vaguely defined security notions have led to the frequent use of the law against citizens peacefully expressing their religious and political beliefs, as well as a number of human rights defenders. In 2009, the authorities made some welcoming moves, including the release of 40 ISA detainees from Kamunting detention camp (of which at least five were human rights defenders[2]) and the announcement that the law will be amended based on feedback obtained from various stakeholders. However, at the same time, new arrests under the ISA have been documented by SUARAM. 16 individuals are currently detained under the ISA in Malaysia – among which 14 were detained after the Government had announced its review of the legislation. Furthermore, no major local human rights groups, including the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) Movement[3] and SUARAM, have been properly consulted in the amendments process despite the fact that these groups have been active on the issue for many years. These contradictory signs seem to indicate the Government’s lack of sincerity in reviewing the ISA and its intention to retain the archaic and draconian legislation. On the occasion of the anniversary of the draconian ISA, OMCT, FIDH and SUARAM also express gravest concerns over other existing emergency and anti-subversion laws which also provide for indefinite detention without trial, namely the Emergency Ordinance 1969 (EO) and the Dangerous Drugs Act 1985 (DDA). As of February 2010, 819 individuals were detained without trial under the EO, while 412 were incarcerated under the DDA – giving a total of more than 1,200 individuals detained without trial in Malaysia. OMCT, FIDH and SUARAM thus strongly reiterate their call to the Government of Malaysia to take the necessary steps to repeal the ISA and all other detention-without-trial laws in order to respect fundamental rights and freedoms.  
While the Government has announced that the ISA would be amended, OMCT, FIDH and SUARAM strongly note their position that all detention-without-trial laws must be repealed and not amended, even more as they deal with the various offences covered by other existing legislations which are more in line with international human rights standards as compared to the draconian ISA, EO and DDA. OMCT, FIDH and SUARAM further urge the Government to immediately release all remaining individuals detained under the ISA and other detention-without-trial laws in the absence of valid legal charges and judicial process consistent with international legal standards, orif such charges exist, bring them before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times.  Finally, OMCT, FIDH and SUARAM call upon the Government and the police force to uphold their commitment to put an immediate end to the continued crackdown on the Malaysian civil society, notably in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Noting the harsh crackdown on the anti-ISA rally which was held exactly one year ago (which saw 589 persons, including juveniles, arrested by the police), our organisations strongly call upon the Malaysian Government to authorise the candlelight vigils that will be held against the ISA, on 1st August 2010, in several cities and towns nationwide and condemn any form of repression of the upcoming peaceful protests. The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) must also play its role in monitoring any possible violations during the candlelight vigils on 1st August 2010 – a task which the Commission had failed to fulfil despite several requests to do so during harsh crackdown on the 2009 anti-ISA rally.  Contact: SUARAM: Nalini. E, Tel. + 6 03 7784 3525, Email: suaram (at)suaram(dot)netOMCT: Alexandra Kossin, Tel. +41 22 809 49 39, Email: omct(at)omct(dot)org  FIDH: Fabien Maitre, Tel. + 33 1 43 55 90 19