PRESS STATEMENT: 13 October 2010
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) express its protest and disappointment over the latest arrest of seven immigration officers and two foreigners alleged for being involved in human trafficking activities (Source: Berita Harian Online). The detention of the nine under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) is yet another attempt by the government to legitimize the usage of detention without trial despite the public criticism and upon the Prime Minister’s public admission that the ISA is indeed problematic and need to be reviewed.
GMI & Suaram views that the usage of ISA against these individuals are against the fundamental principles of human rights, justice and international human rights standards and pose and inherent danger of abuse of power particularly in terms of torture or cruel and degrading treatment of detainees.
GMI and SUARAM strongly condemn the new arrest under the ISA. GMI and SUARAM would like to know why the government invoked ISA against them even though the country have specific law being the Human trafficking law to curb the Human trafficking activities? GMI and SUARAM values that the security of the country is of utmost importance and does not condone any human trafficking activities, but one’s entitlement to a fair trial should not be deprived on any basis.
In the interim, the Government must immediately guarantee safety of the detainees and he/she should be allowed legal assistance immediately. Under the ISA, detainees can be held for up to 60 days in secret locations and in solitary confinement, often in a windowless cell where they lose all sense of time and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.
We strongly criticize the Government for practicing double standards on issues related to ISA. On one hand, it plans to review the ISA but on the other hand, new detention is carried out discreetly as no prior announcements were made. This incident exhibits that the ISA, is an arbitrary law and has been abused in the pretext of national security for political reasons. We urge the government to charge the said detainees in an open court; otherwise, they should be released without any delay and unconditionally.
GMI and SUARAM urge the people of Malaysia to demand for the release of all ISA detainees and for the abolition of this unjust law left behind by the colonial masters once and for all. For 50 years the ISA has been the symbol of injustice and torture in Malaysia.
Abolish the ISA!!!
Release all ISA detainees!!!
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator
Press Statement: 11 October 2010
SUARAM strongly condemns the police for the arrest and detention of 4 legal aid volunteers who were distributing pamphlets on police remand powers.
Those arrested were lawyers Jason Kong & Chan Khoon Moh; and chambering students Norashikin & Mohd Azwan, from the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Centre (LAC). They were arrested while distributing the Bar Council’s “Red Book: Police and Your Basic Rights” to members of the public at a mall in Bukit Jalil, part of the activities of the National Law Awareness Week recently launched by the Bar Council.
The four volunteers had received permission from the mall management for their leafleting but were stopped by the police officers and asked if they had a permit. After examining the “Red Book”, the police officers deemed that it was an “anti-police” publication, requested their ICs and asked them to come to IPD Sungei Besi to give their statements. They were taken to the Sungei Besi IPD around 3:00pm and were released some three hours later without charge. No statements were taken and earlier confiscated copies of the “Red Book” were returned to them
It should be noted that the police officers did not follow procedures in their questioning of the volunteers by forcibly compelling the volunteers to follow them to IPD Sungei Besi by holding onto their identification cards. This is a clear violation of police procedure, since the four of them were not suspects in any criminal case.
SUARAM is concerned with the arbitrary arrest and detention of the volunteers as it is a blatant abuse of power and shows disregard for the human rights principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the UDHR states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; …and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media… regardless of frontiers.” Article 10(1) of the Federal Constitution also guarantees the freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully of every Malaysian citizen.
SUARAM is also disturbed to learn that the reason given in arresting the lawyers was having materials deemed to be “anti-police”. SUARAM is of the view that it is the right of citizens and organisations to hold and impart critical opinion on a public administration due to the fact that the police are directly accountable to the public. The practice of deeming a document “anti-police” and subjecting the persons to arrest and detention is unacceptable in a democratic country like Malaysia.
SUARAM demands that the newly appointed Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar to walk the talk of his 4P (Proactive, Protective, Performance-oriented and People-oriented) plan by stopping the use of intimidation by police officers in the discharge of their duties. The IGP should also ensure that police officers practice the principles of human rights in their duties and also that policing is more compliant to the standards of human rights and prescribed laws.
SUARAM also calls for the implementation of the IPCMC as recommended by the Royal Commission on Police to hold the police accountable over their abuse of power and human rights.
If anything, the PDRM should realise that any initiatives to empower citizens with the knowledge of their rights in terms of police powers would also benefit the PDRM in the long run, at the very least in lessening the instances of people impersonating police officers.
SUARAM also hopes that the irony of the lawyers’ arrest for distributing a pamphlet; launched in 2006 by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz; and which provides information on what to do when stopped, arrested or questioned by the police; is not lost on the IGP.
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar
Pada 12 September 2010, Tan Sri Ismail Omar telah menjawat sebagai KPN yang kesembilan, namum adakah penukaran KPN baru akan memberi harapan baru dan keyakinan kepada rakyat terhadap kredibiliti dan akauntabiliti PDRM ?Ikutilah forum rakyat anjuran SUARAM seperti berikut:
Tarikh : 14 Oktober 2010 (Khamis)
Tempat: KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Bilik Auditorium Tingkat 1
No.1, Jalan Maharajalela, 50150 Kuala Lumpur.
Moderater : Latheefa Koya (Peguam hak asasi manusia)
Sebarang pertanyaan boleh menghubungi saudara Yap Heng Lung (03-7784 3525) atau melalui email:[email protected]
Enquiries: [email protected]