Sin Chew reporter released; RPK, Teresa still held

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Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)/Abolish ISA Movement (AIM) was informed that Sin Chew Daily News reporter Tan Hoon Cheng has been released. Penang state police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakub said Tan was sent to her house in Bukit Mertajam at 4.15pm. She was released Saturday after a one-day detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA). The journalist who was arrested under Section 73(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960 at her home in Bukit Mertajam on Friday night was allowed to see her parents for about 15 minutes Saturday morning.


We deemed that this released due to continous pressure towards the government since the arrest took place.

Tan Hoon Cheng is believed to have been arrested due to her report of the racist statement made by Ahmad Ismail, a member of the ruling party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). Ahmad was reportedly making a statement that Chinese Malaysians are “squatters” in the country. Tan Hoon Cheng was arrested at around 8.30pm at her home at Bukit Mertajam, Penang.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin and  MP Teresa Kok still being detained!

Currently Raja Petra Kamaruddin and MP Teressa Kok still being held under the police custody. They both has been denied to have access to lawyers. We still have not informed about their status.

Raja Petra’s popular blog, Malaysia-Today, has been the most popular blog in Malaysia for its courages reports of corruption and abuse of powers by various authorities and government leaders. This is the second time Raja Petra has been detained under ISA, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. His first arrest under this draconian security law was on April 11, 2001 and he was released after 53 days in detention.

Member of Parliament of Seputeh and senior executive councillor of Selangor state government, Teresa Kok was also arrested under the ISA yesterday at about 11.18pm when she was on her way back to her apartment. Teresa Kok has been in news in recent days – especially in the Malay dailies – after it was claimed that she had told mosque officials in Kota Damansara, Sri Serdang and Puchong Jaya to tone down the call to prayer. However, Teresa Kok had denied the allegations. It could not be immediately ascertained if her arrest has anything to do with these claims.

These ISA arrests have came in the midst of power struggle within the UMNO, the aftermath of the worst electoral performance on March 8 and the humiliating loss in the Permatang Pauh by-election, which was won by Anwar Ibrahim, former deputy prime minister and currently the de facto leader of opposition party, People’s Justice Party. Since the general election on March 8, Anwar Ibrahim has vowed to get members of parliament from the ruling parties to crossover and to form the new government on September 16.

The use of the ISA is totally unjustified and indefensible. It only goes to show that despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government pays scant respect to human rights. The use of the ISA by this government that is on the verge of collapsing is a desperate measure to create a climate of fear among the citizens, to crackdown on dissidents on flimsy grounds of national security in order to cling on to its powers. Clearly, it is the security of the ruling parties that the government of the day is defending with the ISA.   

GMI is also extremely concerned about the wellbeing of the detainee. The history of the ISA reveals that many detainees were subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatments, especially during the first few weeks of detention. The ISA provides for ‘preventive detention’ without trial for an indefinite period. It violates fundamental rights such as the right to trial, the right to legal counsel, the right to defend oneself in open court and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. It goes against the principles of justice and undermines the rule of law.

In solidarity,

Nalini Elumalai
Secretariat of GMI
+60193758912

ACTIONS NEEDED

We would like to request your organization to support our campaign by taking the following actions:

* Send letters to the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to urge him to stop threatening and arresting people under the ISA, free all the detainees in Kamunting or charge them in court, and abolish the draconian ISA.

* Send copies of the letter to the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), the Secretariat of GMI, and the Inspector General of Police.

SAMPLE LETTER

(Your Organization Letterhead)

Y.B. Dato’ Seri Syed Hamid bin
Syed Jaafar Albar
Home Minister,
Blok D 2, Parcel D,
Pusat Pentadbiran
Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62546 Putrajaya.

Tel: 03-8886 3299
Fax 03-8889 3854

Dear Sir,

Re: No to ISA – Release Immediately blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin,  MP Teresa Kok and other ISA detainees immediately!

We are writing to you to register our strongest condemnation and protest against the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Raja Petra Kamaruddin an editor of popular news portal Malaysia Today, and Member of Parliament Teresa Kok.

Under the ISA, a person can be detained without trial indefinitely. It violates important and fundamental rights such as the right to be presumed innocent before proven guilty, the right to an open and fair trial and the right to legal counsel.

We are sure that you, Sir, are fully aware of the abusive nature of the draconian ISA. The history of the ISA reveals that many detainees were subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatments, especially during the first few weeks of detention. We are extremely concerned about the wellbeing of the detainee.

We strongly urge the government to release Raja Petra Kamaruddin,  Teresa Kok and other detainees  immediately and unconditionally. The government must respect the right to trial and abolish the ISA and all forms of detention without trial; charge all detainees in an open court. Failing to do so, the detainees must be released immediately and unconditionally. “Emergency” laws in Malaysia disregard human rights and violate the safeguards enshrined in the Federal Constitution and international human rights law.

The continued use of the ISA only goes to show that despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government pays scant respect to human rights and in breach of its own pledges to the Human Rights Council and international community to promote and protect human rights when Malaysia contested for a seat in the Human Rights Council.

We once again urge you to release or charge all ISA detainees and abolish the draconian law that should have no place in any civilized country.

Sincerely
yours,

[Name]

cc:

1. Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman,

President,
National
Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM)
Tingkat 29, Menara Tun Razak,
Jalan Raja Laut,
50350
Kuala Lumpur

Tel:
03 2612 5600
Fax:
03 2612 5620

2. Tan Sri Musa Hassan
Inspector General of Police (IGP)
50560 Bukit Aman,
Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: 03-22626015
Fax: 03-22725613

Released by,

Abolish ISA Movement (AIM)
s/o Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
433A, Jalan 5/46, Petaling Jaya,
46000 Selangor, Malaysia
Tel: +60 3 77843525
Fax: +60 3 77843526
Website: www.suaram.net

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