Release Sanjeevan, repeal detention without trial laws, urges Suaram

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The MyWatch chairman R Sri Sanjeevan was shot before he could reveal details about corruption in the force

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) condemns the blatant abuse of police power in R Sri Sanjeevan’s arrests and calls for his immediate release.

Sanjeevan who is well known for his contribution as chairperson of MyWatch was first arrested on 22 June 2016 following an allegation that he extorted money from a gambling den operator. After the conclusion of his first remand, he has been subjected to a series of chain remands with the courts rejecting the final three remand applications put forth by the Royal Malaysian police.

At the conclusion of his eigth remand, where the police failed to secure an extension for his remand, he was subjected to detention under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca). He has now begun the first 21 days of remand under Poca. Even before the conclusion of the 21 days, Bukit Aman D7 principal assistant director, Roslee Chik has divulged that the police will detain Sanjeevan under Poca for the full 60-day period.

If there is sufficient evidence against the said individual, there is no reason why the Royal Malaysian Police needs to subject a person under chain remand or detain a person under Poca as they can forward the case to the attorney general’s chambers for criminal prosecution.

The abuse of the law and the use of laws that permit detention without trial imply that the police have insufficient evidence to push for prosecution but still seek to punish the individual.

The latest case against Sanjeevan under Poca makes it clear that the police use laws such as Poca to allow them to act with absolute impunity and serve as the ‘judge, jury and executioner’.

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Further the use of draconian provisions such as Poca against individuals who have a clear history of being a part of civil society makes it clear that Poca can be and will be abused like the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma). The use of Poca in such a manner effectively reintroduces the ISA into the civil and political discourse in Malaysia, and this dangerous trend must not be allowed to continue.

In these trying times when Malaysia is subjected to threats of terrorism, the police must not tarnish their image in such a manner as it would weaken public trust and jeopardise the safety and interest of the public. On this note, Suaram strongly condemns this unconscionable behaviour displayed by the police and demands that Sanjeevan be released immediately.

Suaram also reiterates the call for the abolition of all laws permitting detention without trial including but not limited to Sosma, the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1984.

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram. 

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