Unlawful detention through abusive ‘procedures’

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We need to avoid congestion in cells and prisons - File photo: themalaymailonline

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) condemns the unlawful detention of Quek Chin Fern and Cheryl Lim in Kluang Prison, Johor.

The two were arrested on 19 June 2017 for alleged shoplifting. They subsequently pleaded guilty and were sentenced to a day of imprisonment under Section 380 of the Penal Code on 22 June 2017 (with sentence to start at 12am, 22 June 2017). Despite being sentenced to one day of imprisonment, they were not released at the designated time and were brought to Kluang Prison to ‘serve’ their sentence.

Family members who contacted the prison officials were informed that the two could not be released as their passports were not with them at the prison. Additional queries directed to the prison officials were returned with information that the Immigration Department of Malaysia has issued orders for the two to be detained. Prison officials also claim that in these situations the procedures outlines that prisoners are only to be transferred to immigration detention on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There is no legitimate ground for these individuals to be subjected to additional detention by the prison department and immigration department. Their detention can only be described as an underhanded method utilised by the prison department to illegally detain individuals beyond the ambit of the law. The illegal detention of Quek and Cheryl for the past five days represents a direct violation of Article 5(1)1 of the Federal Constitution and a violation of Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In addition to their illegal detention, Suaram was informed by the family of Quek that she suffers from a dislocated shoulder since the time of her arrest and has not been provided any medical attention. The failure to provide adequate medical attention is a violation of Rule 273 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

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Suaram reiterates its condemnation of the detention of Quek and Cheryl and call for their immediate release!

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

26 June 2017

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