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

SIMULTANEOUS CANDLE LIGHT VIGIL IN CONJUNCTION WITH 50 YEARS OF ISA!

Salam Perjuangan,

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) would like to
invite all concerned citizens to a Candle light Vigil in conjunction with 50 years of ISA. The Vigil will be held on the 1st of August 2010, 8pm at several parts of Malaysia such as:

Venue in in each states:
State Place Contact Person
Selangor Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur (Opposite Amcorp Mall) Nalini: 019 3758912
Penang Speakers Square Jing Cheng: 012 7583779
Perak Dataran Bandaraya Ipoh Dr. Kumar: 019 5616807
Kedah Dataran Zero KM, Sungai Petani Simon Ooi : 012 4202264
Kelantan Taman Hijau, Jalan Sultanah Zainab (After Merdeka Field) Zaidi:
0123840415
Seremban Dataran Seremban Veron: 016 6687900
Sibu No. 25, Pusat Tanah Wang, Jalan Perdada, 96000 Sibu, Sarawak George
0198873515
Kuching Lots 468-469, Bangunan Al Idrus Commercial Centre, Jalan Satok,
93400Kuching. See Chee How 019-8886509, Zulkifli 013-8958174

We demand the Government of Malaysia to Abolish the ISA as soon as possible as
the barbaric and unlawful Act has existed in Malaysia for 50 years. The ISA is draconian and most importantly, it is against the fundamental human rights.

Please join us together to fight the ISA and all other detention without trial laws! Together We CAN Bring CHANGE!

GMI Secretariat will update everyone from time to time regarding the venue of the Vigils in each state mentioned above. Please bear with us. For further info, please contact Miss Nalini at 019 3758912 or 03 77843525.

Released By,

Nalini.E
GMI Secretariat and SUARAM Coordinator

50 CONTROVERSIAL YEARS OF THE ISA – THE ISA MUST BE ABOLISHED, NOT AMENDED

GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA- PRESS STATEMENT: 26th July 2010

 

50 CONTROVERSIAL YEARS OF THE ISA –
THE ISA MUST BE ABOLISHED, NOT AMENDED

50 Years of the ISA
On 1 August, the Internal Security Act (ISA) will have been in existence for 50
years. The ISA was enacted in 1960 on the premise that it was needed to address
the threat posed by the Communist movement. The original Act incorporated
various mechanisms to prevent its abuse, including provision for judicial
review. A promise was also made that it would be used solely to counter the
armed Communist insurgency. Eventually the Communists laid down their arms, but
the ISA remained on the books, and is still in force today. It was even
“enhanced” in 1989 when the provision of judicial review was removed, rendering
it even more unjust and controversial.

The scope of the ISA has also been broadened; the list of its “victims” has
grown ever longer. Over the years it has been used to detain people said to be
members of Jemaah Islamiah (JI), KMM (Malaysian Militant Group), the Al-Maunah
and Al-Arqam groups, Shiah adherents, political activists, reform activists,
students and human rights activists. It has even been used to detain people
alleged to have forged identity cards, cloned telephones, made counterfeit coins
and harbored illegal immigrants – cases which have been considered very
controversial.

The ISA has become a ready tool to be used in place of professional, thorough
and painstaking investigation by the police. In addition, the reasons and
process of arrest under the ISA, as well as the methods of interrogation used,
have often clearly contravened humanitarian and religious principles. In short,
the entire set-up is riddled with controversy. Every arrest made under the ISA
represents a failure on the part of the police to conduct investigations which
fulfill the criteria required by the Attorney General to proceed with
prosecution. This collaboration between the police and the Home Ministry to
curtail the proper process of justice is in itself a gross injustice, by any
standard.

The ISA has also long been used by the ruling coalition to suppress political
dissent. It has been used to punish critics, to try and silence dissenting
voices, cover up their corrupt and unethical practices, and deflect pressure
from the international community. All this is done in the name of “national
security”, but instead constitutes a deliberate hobbling of the country’s system
of justice. To their way of thinking, the interests of national security
override the principles of justice, and this in itself is controversial.

THE ISA SHOULD BE REPEALED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT
Facing widespread criticism both at home and abroad – the ISA has badly damaged
Malaysia’s reputation – the government has finally proposed to review 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
abuse of human rights.

At the present time, 16 people are still being detained under the ISA. The
longest-standing detainee is Shamsuddin Sulaiman, alleged to be a member of JI,
who has been detained for more than 8 years. The newest detainee, arrested on 15
July 2010, is Fadzullah Bin Abdul Razak, alleged to be a terrorist. Since April
2009, a total of 12 people have been detained under the ISA. This is despite the
fact that in April 2009 the Prime Minister announced that a number of ISA
detainees would be released and the ISA itself reviewed.

The review of the ISA has been limited to only five aspects, and the proposed
amendments to the Act, promised for more than a year, have yet to be tabled in
Parliament. The five aspects are: detention without trial; the broad powers of
the minister; the length of detention allowed; the rights and treatment of
detainees; and the public perception that the ISA is used as a tool of political
oppression. GMI would like to expand on these five aspects.

a) Detention without trial
Detention under the ISA is not protected by effective judicial review. The
court only allows a challenge to be mounted based on technical grounds,
that is, habeas corpus; there is no avenue to challenge the grounds of arrest.
In many cases there has been no sound reason to invoke the ISA, since the
charges could have been dealt with under existing criminal laws.

b) Powers of the Minister
The power currently invested in the Minister to decide to detain a person for
a period of two years is clearly far too broad. It also implies that the
Minister has no respect for the judicial process or for the executive arm of the
government. It thus fails to adhere to the principle of separation of powers.

c) The Period of detention
The 60-day period of detention is used for interrogation of detainees by Special
Branch officers, who routinely employ physically and psychologically abusive
methods. A person should only be detained if there is evidence against him/her,
and if the police fail to come up with such evidence the person should be
released. As a matter of principle, no-one should be detained for 60 days
without recourse to judicial process.

d) Rights and treatment of detainees
Both GMI and SUARAM have gathered and published extensive documentary evidence
of abuse and torture of ISA detainees. During the 60-day detention period
detainees are denied access to lawyers, and there have been a number of cases
where detainees were not informed of their rights at the time of their arrest.
The authorities justify torture and abuse by saying that it is necessary for the
successful completion of the investigation. In addition, detainees and their
families are often subjected to pressure and psychological abuse.

e) Public perception of misuse of the ISA for political purposes
It is common knowledge that many of those arrested under the ISA have been
political activists and dissidents, or anyone who has criticized the government
and its policies.

GMI is of the firm opinion that amending these five aspects alone will not
prevent the ruling coalition from continuing to abuse the ISA in this manner to
perpetuate its hold on power. The only way to restore public confidence would be
to repeal the ISA, ensure that police carry out their investigations in a
professional manner, ensure that judicial oversight is not excluded, and for the
government to uphold norms and principles of justice and human rights.

The People’s Role in Repealing the ISA
Public pressure in demanding the repeal of the ISA is crucial. The importance of
the support and active engagement of the people, regardless of political
affiliation, religion or ethnic and social background, cannot be overstated. The
Abolish ISA Rally held on 1 August 2009 was witness to the effectiveness of such
broad public participation.

Accordingly, GMI will continue to invite the people to play an active role in
this campaign. To mark the 50th anniversary of the ISA, GMI is organizing a
series of events, among them are:

1. Arts Night: “Detention without Trial”, to be held on 24 July 2010, at the
MBPJ Multipurpose Hall in Jalan Nuri, Section 7, Kota Damansara, starting at 8
pm.

2. Distribution of leaflets simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur and state
capitals, on 1 August.

3. Candle-light vigils to be held simultaneously at locations around the
country, also on 1 August.

4. The People’s Demands
GMI will never compromise in the issue of detention without trial. All Acts
which allow or have resulted in oppression, torture and abuse of people should
have no place on the statute books, and should be abolished without delay.

All groups and organizations which are part of the GMI coalition are urged to
give their support to the demands listed below, in an effort to maximize support
from all partners.

We hereby demand that the government:
1. Abolish all existing unjust laws such as the ISA, EO (Emergency
Ordinance), DDA (Dangerous Drugs Act), and the RRA (Restricted Residence Act),
with immediate effect. All of these laws go against the spirit of the Federal
Constitution, as well as contravene Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (1981). This appeal is in keeping with similar
recommendations made by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) and
the Malaysian Commission for Human Rights (SUHAKAM), as well as by various other
human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights
Watch (HRW), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), and the Islamic
Human Rights Commission (IHRC).

2. Either releases, or charges in an open court, all those currently detained
without trial.

3. Close down immediately all detention centres for detainees held without
trial, such as Kamunting and Simpang Renggam.

4. Awards compensation to all those who have been detained without trial, for
being unjustly deprived of their liberty and denied their due rights.

5. Makes a public apology to all such detainees, past and present, and
compensates them for the injustice, abuse and suffering inflicted on them during
and as a result of their detention.

6. Utilize instead existing criminal laws such as the following:
a. Section 489B of the Penal Code: counterfeiting money;
b. Section 56 of the Immigration Act: falsifying passports;
c. Section 298A of the Penal Code: issuing statements or spreading rumours
to incite religious hatred;
d. Section 499 of the Penal Code: issuing statements to incite racial hatred;
e. Section 499 of the Penal Code: distributing false information; or
f. Chapter VIA of the Penal Code: terrorist offences.

7. Investigates all complaints and cases of abuse, torture, inhuman treatment
and abuse of power perpetrated on any detainees, past or present; prosecutes
those responsible and sets up a Royal Commission to conduct investigations.

8. Debates the SUHAKAM Annual Reports in Parliament and implements its
recommendations.

9. Recognizes respects and restores the proper powers of the judiciary, as an
independent body, to provide a check and balance on the power of the police and
executive, and repeals all laws which have removed such judicial oversight.

Released By,
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

Suaram: Heightened intolerance towards dissent (The SUN- 21 july 2010)

Suaram: Heightened intolerance towards dissent
By Karen Arukesamy

KUALA LUMPUR (July 21, 2010):Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) lamented that the government has “yet to respond” pro-actively despite numerous recommendations made by human rights NGOs. Its 2009 Human Rights Report launched today, highlighted several key trends in declining human rights last year.

It cited perceived abuses of power by law enforcement agencies, heightened intolerance towards dissent and resistance to reform, and greater respect for human rights.

“With the massive arrests by the police over peaceful protests and street demonstrations, the freedom of speech, expression and assembly have been seriously undermined in the country,” said Suaram director Dr Kua Kia Soong.

Kua said while the government had agreed to review the Internal Security Act (ISA), it has ignored two other detention-without-trial laws – the Emergency Ordinance and the Dangerous Drugs Act – despite their similarities with the ISA.

Other laws like the Sedition Act, Official Secrets Act, and Section 27 of the Police Act also remain firmly in place, undermining the civil liberties, the report said.

Among others, the report noted that there were eight deaths in custody – seven in police custody and political aide Teoh Beng Hock’s death while in the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Besides that, 88 people were shot dead by police in 2009 with not a single police officer known to be held accountable for any of those deaths.

Suaram documentation and monitoring coordinator John Liu, who presented the report, said this was a high number considering there were only 13 such cases in 2007, according to official sources.

“These cases continue to occur at an alarming rate in 2010, including the case of 15-year-old Aminulrashyid Hamzah, who was shot dead by police on April 26 in Shah Alam, and on July 5, four robbers were shot dead by police in Pahang,” he said.

“ Malaysia’s refusal  to ratify the United Nations Convention Against Torture despite being repeatedly urged to do so shows the government accepts torture as a form of punishment,” Liu said. — theSun