Suaram: Use of torture in Malaysia must be probed, stopped

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Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the use of all forms of torture by any individuals, organisations and governments.

The use of torture clearly contravenes all recognised international human rights principles and international law.

The appalling revelations brought forward by lawyers and Sosma detainees is deplorable to say the least. In a world where the use of torture is internationally condemned and rejected, the possibility that the government of Malaysia is unofficially or inadvertently complicit in the use of torture must be investigated and ascertained.

While reports that torture was systematically used against Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) detainees were prevalent, such practices were thought to be a relic of the past with the abolishment of the ISA.

The reports submitted by the lawyers and Sosma detainees makes it clear that the use of torture is not a relic of a past but a tool of the present.

Acknowledging the severe emotional and physical trauma that torture would inflict upon individuals and the implications for the integrity of the criminal justice system of Malaysia, Suaram calls upon the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) to conduct immediate investigations into the alleged use of torture by the authorities.

These revelations also suggest that the existing mechanism for accountability and compliance is insufficient and that the IPCMC is very much needed for accountability and compliance with international standards.

Suaram demands that the government establish a royal commission of inquiry into the use of torture in Malaysia and issue a clear statement condemning the use of torture by any enforcement agencies.

Further, Suaram believes that the use of torture can only take place in the absence of judicial oversight and transparent investigation procedures. For the use of torture to be put to an end, laws such as the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) and the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 (DDA) that give room for torture to take place must be abolished!

Lastly, Suaram demands that the government sign and ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

Failure to do so would imply that the government officially condones and upholds the use of torture in Malaysia contrary to its obligations under international human rights and international law!

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

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