Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) and Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) express their protest and disappointment over the latest arrests of three individuals for allegedly being involved in human trafficking activities and transnational crimes (Berita Harian Online, 10 February 2011).
The Home Minister revealed that two men and one woman were arrested. One of them is from Indonesia. The detention of the three under the infamous Internal Security Act (ISA) is yet another attempt by the government to legitimise the usage of detention without trial despite public criticism and upon the Prime Minister’s public admission that the ISA is indeed problematic and needs to be reviewed.
GMI and Suaram strongly condemn the new arrests under the ISA. GMI and Suaram would like to know why the government invoked the ISA against them even though the country has a specific law – the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007 law – to curb the human trafficking activities? GMI and Suaram understand the security of the country is of utmost importance and do not condone any human trafficking activities, but the entitlement to a fair trial should not be deprived on any basis.
In the interim, the government must immediately guarantee the safety of the detainees and they 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 criticise the Government for practising double standards on issues related to ISA. On the one hand, it plans to review the ISA but on the other hand, new detentions are carried out discreetly as no prior announcements were made. This incident shows that the ISA is an
arbitrary law and has been abused. We urge the government to charge the said detainees in an open court; otherwise, they should be released unconditionally without any delay.
We would like to request the family of the detainees to contact us and to fight for the rights of their family members.
Finally, GMI and Suaram urge the people of Malaysia to demand the release of all ISA detainees and the abolition once and for all of this unjust law left, behind by the colonialists.
Abolish the ISA!
Release all ISA detainees!
Nalini E works for the GMI Secretariat and is coordinator of Suaram