Friday, 05-Dec-2003 3:07 PM
Restrictions on former
ISA detainees of Al-Maunah
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
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
Anti ISA Movement (AIM)