Friday, 05-Dec-2003 3:07 PM

PRESS STATEMENT

Restrictions on former ISA detainees of Al-Maunah

1.      GMI welcome the release of 15 Al-Maunah detainees from the detention of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on 24 November 2003, however we regret that the release came with a string of conditions imposed on these former ISA detainees, which include restricted residence to a particular district, the need to report to police weekly and the ban on them from leaving the house they stayed from 9pm – 6pm.

2.      These restrictions imposed are clearly violation of freedom of movement of the former detainees, which is uphold by the Federal Constitution under Part II: Fundamental Liberties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3.      GMI questions the rational behind these restrictions since the government has declared that these former detainees were released because they are no more a threat to national security. These restrictions are totally unjustified especially in the first place, the government was not able to provide any evidence to prove that they posed a threat to national security in order to justify their detention under the ISA.

4.      The unnecessary restrictions have also created a lot of difficulties to the livelihood of the detainees. Some of these former detainees are being restricted to the district of their old address or the district that their families have moved out. For instance, Che wan Mustapha Che wan Kaman was sent to Kuantan when his family is in Paka, Terengganu; Mohamed Ismail Abdul Rani was sent to Shah Alam when his families is in Taman Keramat Permai, Kuala Lumpur; Mazaln bin Hassan was sent to Shah Alam when his hometown is in Melaka; Jalil bin Rashid was sent to Selayang when his family stays in Taman Keramat Permai, Kuala Lumpur; and Muhamad Subki bin Omar sent ot Sungai Petani when his family stays in Baling. This lack of consultation with the detainees on this matter resulted a lot of problems for the former detainees who tried to reunite with their families and return to their normal life. The situation of not being able to live together with their families is made worse with many of them found themselves unable to find a job because of the restriction of movement imposed on them and the unwillingness of employees to recruit them.

5.      We urge the government to lift these conditions immediately on the former detainees. We call on Suhakam to intervene and investigate the violations of human rights of these restrictions. We also call on Suhakam to assist these former detainees to get back their job before detention by writing letter to their former employers to support their case.

Lawyers’ visit to detainees

6.      GMI welcomes the approval of lawyers’ visit by the police to the students who were studied in Pakistan and arrested under the ISA for allegedly involved in Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). The lawyers have visited the students on 22 November 2003 and 4 December 2003. However, GMI was disappointed with the arrangement of the meetings on the followings aspects:

  1. The notice of visit was given in very late hours, thus leaving very little time for the lawyers to organise themselves as well as getting the family members to join the meeting. For instance, the visit on 4 December 2003 to get the detainees to sign affidavits was only informed by the police one day before the visit. It was difficult for the lawyers to get family members of the detainees to come at such short notice as a lot of them live in another states far from Kuala Lumpur.
  2. The visiting time was only 20 minutes for each detainee and it is impossible to have a proper consultation and to take instructions from the detainees in such a short time.
  3. The presence of police officer within sight and hearing during the meetings of the lawyers with the detainees. This is a flagrant violation of the right of the detainees to have private and confidential legal consultation with the lawyers, as guaranteed by the Evidence Act and Legal Profession Act and international human rights instruments.
  4. The police officers who sat in the meeting often sit behind the lawyers, facing the detainees. This put the detainees under great pressure and duress in answering questions from the lawyers or divulging any information that is unfavorable to the police and the government. This was most evident when the student looked at the police officers before answering any questions from the lawyers.

7.      GMI is of the opinion that the lawyers’ visits were conducted in such a way described above to intimidate the lawyers and the detainees. The legal consultation accorded to the detainees would be meaningless under such intimidating environment, not forgetting that these detainees were subjected to incommunicado detention for about one week and the threat of being detained without trial for a long time.

8.      GMI thus calls on Suhakam to investigate and intervene so that the right of the detainees to consult his or her legal counsel in private and confidential environment is respected and the privilege relationship of the lawyers with their clients will be protected.

Hari Raya visit by special branch

9.      GMI is also alarmed by a complaint of the family of Mohd Sha Sarijan that they were visited by the special branch during Hari Raya. This is clearly a form of intimidation to the ISA family. We urge Suhakam to investigate into this complaint to stop this form of intimidation from special branch.

Yap Swee Seng

Secretary

Anti ISA Movement (AIM)

 

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