Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Release 9 arrested & detained under ISA now

Again the ISA (Internal Security Act), a draconian law that allows for detention without trial is being used by the Malaysian police to arrest and detain 9 persons...and this is unacceptable.

If the police use the normal laws to arrest persons, i.e. the Criminal Procedure Code, then the police can only keep a person detained for a maximum of 14 days before they have to charge ...or release the said person. Under the usual law, a person arrested and detained has to be brought before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, and thereafter further detention is permitted only if the police gets a remand order from the magistrate, and this order is normally given. A couple of years ago, the law has been amended and the length of remand permissible on the first application and subsequent application has been fixed, and the maximum for the most serious of offenses is 7 days. All these checks and balances, in the form of 'judicial supervision', etc are to protect the rights of persons arrested and detained...but the police sometimes chooses to be 'smart' by arresting people under the ISA and/or other detention without trial laws - which allows the police to arrest and detain a person for up to 60 days without having to bring these persons before the courts...magistrates.. After that 60 days, persons held under detention without trial laws can easily be detained for further periods of 2 years indefinitely on the basis of a Detention Order signed by the Minister. And now you cannot go to court to challenge the validity of the reasons for which you are being detained....

There is no justification to detain the 9 under the ISA under an allegation that they are involved in human trafficking.... Do we not have the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act 2007? They should just use that Act...and the normal powers of arrest, detention, investigation, provided for by the Criminal Procedure Code.

Of course using the ISA...and the other Detention Without Trial laws is the easy way out.... and you can indefinitely detain persons....maybe even torture them, etc...and then release them later - and the victims of these  unjust laws have no remedy... [See earlier posts:Malaysian courts continue to deter people from claiming rights/justice through the courts]

And sometimes our police and government believe that if you say that someone is alleged to be involved in 'terrorism', 'drug trafficking', 'gangsterism',....and now 'human trafficking' , Malaysians generally will not be bothered to campaign for the immediate and unconditional release of  these 'very bad people' they would when the likes of Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, etc gets arrested. Of course for many, they use the other detention without trial laws like the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act ....Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Act...,and not the more known ISA. Well, people are not stupid - and we call for the repeal of all Detention Without Trial Laws ...and for the immediate and unconditional release of maybe more than thousand people still being detained/restricted under these laws... 

Why do the police use the ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws? Well, some believe because they do not have to prove anything ...hence no requirement of getting any evidence sufficient to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Some say, it is because they want to 'hide' something - maybe the involvement of other 'big persons' which will more likely than not come out in an open trial. 
Should we allow the police this option of using ISA and other Detention Without Trial Laws, and not the normal laws? I say 'No' - They must always arrest, detain, investigate, charge and try persons in accordance with the law, i.e. as provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code, where there are relevant provisions that protect the basic rights of the one arrested, detained,... Without these protections, police powers will be unchecked and may be also abused at the detriment of human victims....

Immediately and unconditionally release 9 that have recently been arrested under the ISA....

KUALA LUMPUR: Seven Immigration Department officials and two foreigners have been detained under the Internal Security Act for alleged involvement in human trafficking, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said Wednesday.

The nine were arrested at various places between Sunday and Tuesday, he told reporters at a press conference here.

He added that police were also making all efforts to ensure Malaysia was not used as transit point by foreigners for their criminal activities. - Star, 13/10/2010, Nine detained under ISA for human trafficking

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