[apyf2001utazu] Forced abduction by the Malaysian state

JC Helary helary at niji.or.jp
Wed May 2 07:19:01 PDT 2001

----- Forwarded message from Toni Kasim <tkasim at pc.jaring.my> -----

To: apyf2001utazu at yahoogroups.com From: Toni Kasim <tkasim at pc.jaring.my> Date: Wed, 02 May 2001 13:36:23 +0800 Subject: [apyf2001utazu] Forced abduction by the Malaysian state

Dear friends,

I thought I would let you know what is happening in Malaysia at the moment for those who have not been able to find out the latest.

In the last three weeks, ten people have been disappeared and abducted by the Malaysian state police (or Malaysian police state??). We have been told that they are being held under the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial for sixty days, after which the HOme Minister can extend they detention for however long they wish.

The police say they are on the lookout for several more "troublemakers". These people comprise key people from the Opposition party and also activists. Many of us feel that some of us activists may be on that list next.

Under this Internal Security Act (I wonder if this should in fact be called the Internal UMNO Insecurity Act since it seems to swing into action everytime there is a threat to the UMNO leadership??), anyone can be disappeared by the state at any time of the day, without a warrant, without evidence and without telling anyone where the detainees are being taken on the suspicion that they are a risk to the security to the country.

This draconian and act that allows for torture has put away thousands of people since the 60s for varying lengths of time, some as long as 16 to 20 years. They have included those fighting for labour issues, opposition figures, priests, social activists, academics, those labelled as deviant Muslims. The list goes on...

People I know and respect dearly, many are friends who continue to fight for freedom and democracy, were arrested in 1974 and 1987 when there were mass arrests and held in the detention camps for long period of time.

During the first 60 days, those suspected of are kept in solitary confinement and "investigated". This "investigation", through testimony by past detainees (even up to last year) entail torture and abuse - physical and mental. Detainees are beaten, deprived of sleep for days on end, kept in small dark cells, questioned repeatedly, burnt with cigarette butts, tortured mentally with all sorts of allegations and threats, etc - the aim being to crack them and get confessions from them that they were trying to upset the security of the nation. No one can visit them. Even our Human Rights Commission who has the power to visit them them have been denied permission.

The NGO movement in the country have fought for years to get this stupid boneheaded Act abolished, but within the somewhat inert and quiet political climate in the country, the support for the work done by the NGOs has been small. If anything, the person in the street thought that NGOs were really just trouble makers who are never happy with the government.

Since the political upheaval of 1998, more have come to know the wonders of this Act and can see how it is abused to the hilt. The voice calling for its abolition has grown and keeps growing.

The Abolish ISA Movement (AIM) was formed on 30th April, with the aim of campaining against the ISA. AIM comprises 4 parties, and 80 NGOs and trade unions. Meanwhile, our friends are locked up and we do not know where they are being held. Even if they perished we would not know.

I have not been able to do much other work since this thing blew up and my social life at the moment revolves around ISA meetings (sorry i have not rung Wendy - I have not been home for more that 24 hours at a time over the past 4 weeks or so). I am involved in the human rights group called Suaram (short for Suara Rakyat Malaysia or Malaysian People's Voice) and have been involved at the secretariat level for some time now and things have just not let up. Last week, four special branch officers waited outside our office and noted those going for the meetings.

What happens next is anyone's guess. Everyday we wonder if the next one will be taken that day. Everyday we check on those living alone (including me since Paul's in Spore) to see if they are alright and still around. When we can't get them on their mobile, we start worrying and ringing around to see where they have gone.

The more Mahathir feels threatened, the more he behaves like a wounded animal. Just for your information, last week in Dubai, he spoke highly about how Asian countries may in fact need "good dictators" for their development! Him, of course, being one of them. I would not be surprised if there is another mass arrest - I think it would be a dumb move on his part since it would bring international attention.

At the same time, I think Mahathir is at the point where he could not care less what other nations think. In any case, I am beginning to wonder about govt to govt response and have little faith that other governments will even bother. Ultimately, it really is the transnational civil society that can put pressure on their own governments to say something.

Actually I am happy he has finally conceded that he is a dictator. Now I just wish he would admit that we are living in a police state or something to that effect! At least the world will know exactly who we are.

Below is the alert that Amnesty International has sent out to its global partners. If you are able to write to the addresses attached or get your organisation to support our work, that would be great. Or to pressure whoever you think has some influence in your country.

As for Burma, I am not sure the junta will let me in again, but if Daw Suu ever invited me, I would go! I also found out that Debbie Stothard, the Malaysian who was based in Thailand coordinating the campaign, has been "asked to leave" Bangkok. The Burmese Govt pressured the Thai Govt to not let her back in again.


PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 28/007/2001

26 April 2001

Further information on UA 94/01 (ASA 28/006/2001, 11 April 2001) - Fear of torture or ill-treatment / incommunicado detention without charge or trial/ prisoners of conscience

MALAYSIA Tian Chua [m], Vice President, Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN)

Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor [m], National Youth Chief, PKN

Haji Saari Sungip [m], PKN activist

Hishamuddin Rais [m], media columnist and social activist

Raja Petra Kamaruddin [m], Director of Free Anwar Campaign

N. Gobala Krishnan [m], Secretary General, PKN Youth

Abdul Ghani Harun [m], PKN Youth Central Committee member New names: Badaruddin Ismail [m], human rights defender

Dr Badrul Amin Baharom [m], PKN Youth leader

Lokman Nor Adam [m], Executive Secretary, PKN Youth Wing

Malaysian police have arrested another two opposition politicians and a human rights defender, bringing to ten the total number of detainees held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for indefinite incommunicado detention without charge or trial. They are being held in an unknown place of detention and denied access to their families and lawyers. They are all at grave risk of torture or ill-treatment.

On 26 April Malaysian police arrested human rights defender Badaruddin Ismail, who is a member of the secretariat of a leading human rights organization, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Voice of the Malaysian People.

He had been assisting families of detainees and documenting an official enquiry into police brutality. The authorities have given no reasons for his arrest. Amnesty International believes that he has been arrested because of his peaceful activities in defence of fundamental human rights.

Dr Badrul Amin Baharom was arrested on 20 April in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and Lokman Nor Adam was arrested in Shah Alam in the state of Selangor on 20 April. Both men are leading members of the opposition party, Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN), National Justice Party.

The seven opposition politicians previously arrested have now been held incommunicado for over two weeks, and fears are mounting that they may have been tortured. The police have refused to reveal their exact place of detention. The Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has denied that the arrests are politically motivated and has defended the detention without trial, claiming that the police have evidence that the PKN activists were planning to use explosives and weapons in street demonstrations to topple the government. No evidence supporting this accusation has been made public or presented before the courts. Amnesty International believes the real reason for the arrests is to suppress legitimate peaceful dissent, and considers all the detainees to be prisoners of conscience.

The seven detainees' lawyers have sought to challenge the legality of their arrests and have called for them to be brought before a court. However, on 25 April a High Court judge dismissed the habeas corpus petition issued by the lawyers of five of the detainees, ruling that the court had no jurisdiction over the matter as the arrests had been carried out by the police in line with the powers accorded to them under the ISA. The families of the detainees plan to lodge an appeal against the decision. A similar application on behalf of two other detainees is currently pending before another court.

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission, Suhakam, have requested access to the detainees, but so far the police have failed to respond to the request. Suhakam have also called for their release, and urged for the ISA to be repealed or amended to prevent it from being used to violate fundamental human rights. The High Court judge reportedly criticized Suhakam's demand, calling it an "interference with the lawful exercise of discretion by the police". Other groups representing Malaysian civil society, including the Bar Council, leading opposition parties and non-governmental organizations, have also expressed concerns for the safety of the detainees, and have intensified their calls for the repeal of the ISA.

FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send emails/faxes/express/airmail letters in English or in your own language: - calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Badaruddin Ismail, who has been detained on account of his peaceful activities in defence of human rights; - calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the other detainees named above, who have been arrested solely for their peaceful dissenting political activities; - urging the authorities to guarantee that they will not be tortured or ill-treated in detention; - calling for them to be allowed immediate access to lawyers, families and medical attention; - urging that the ISA be either repealed or amended so that it no longer allows for the detention without trial of those exercising their right to peaceful freedom of expression or assembly.

APPEALS TO: (Please note that it can be difficult getting through to Malaysian fax numbers. Please be patient and keep trying):

Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Dato' Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi Menteri Dalam Negeri Jalan Dato Onn, 50502 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Fax: + 60 3 230 1051 or + 60 3 230 1217 Email: tpm at smpke.jpm.my Salutation: Dear Minister of Home Affairs

Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai Ketua Polis Negara Ibupejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia Bukit Aman 50502 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Fax: + 60 3 22731326 Salutation: Dear Inspector General of Police


Chairman, Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) Ybhg. Tan Sri Musa Hitam Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia 29th Floor Menara Tun Razak Jalan Raja Laut 50350 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Fax: + 603 26125620 E-mail: humanrights at humanrights.com.my

and to diplomatic representatives of Malaysia accredited to your country.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 7 June 2001.

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