Statement for 10 April 2003 (draft)

 

To Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed

 

We Hong Kong People coming from Human Rights Organisations, Students, Youth and Migrant Workers・ organizations,  are gathered today once again to protest the fact that two years ago, on 10 April 2001, the Government of Malaysia began a series of arrests of 10 persons under the notorious Internal Security Act (ISA).

 

They were accused of being a .threat to national security・ and of planning to overthrow the government by violent means and street demonstrations, But since no charges were made against them in a court of law, they were not given the opportunity to defend themselves, which is a violation of the principle of innocence until proven guilty, and their right to a fair trial, as provided under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

  

The ISA, first introduced in Malaysia by the British colonialists, and refined by the Malaysian Government in 1960, provides for indefinite detention without charge or trial. Section 73 of the ISA empowers the police to arrest those suspected of committing activities prejudicial to .national security・ and allows an initial detention of up to 60 days. After the expiry of this 60 days period, the police may recommend that the Minister for Home Affairs issues a 2-year renewable detention order under section 8 of the ISA.

 

This is exactly what happened to six of the 10 political leaders, writers and social activists arrested on 10 April 2001, after two were subsequently released by the police and two others were released by the High Court.

 

In September 2002 the Habeas Corpus appeals  by  5 detainees against their arrest and  detention were finally heard.  But their hopes of release were dashed to the ground when the Court made an incredible double judgement.  On 6 September 2002, the four-member Federal Court in the first instance ruled that the initial 60 days detention period under section 73 of the ISA was unlawful and the 5 detainees should be released.  However, at the same time, they also ruled, on a technical point, that this decision would not apply to the 2-year detention order made by the Home Minister under section 6.  

 

Thus we call upon the Malaysian Government to abolish the ISA  and release immediately the six detainees -  Tian Chua,  Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor, Saari Sungib, Hishmuddin Rais,Badrul Amin and Lokman Adam.

 

Whilst Prime Minister Mahathir is voicing his opinion internationally in defense of peace and peoples rights at this time of War, his stand is considerably undermined by the Human Rights violations he continues to sanction in his home country.

 

The .War on Terrorism・ has been used to excuse Human Rights violations around the world by States and Regimes and to justify draconian legislation such as the ISA. Today we also remember the victims of such legislation who remain without recourse to justice and the right of fair trial.

 

 

 

Release Tian Chua!

Release Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor!

Release Saari Sungib!

Release Hishamuddin Rais!

Release Badrul Amin!

Release Lokman Adam!

Abolish the ISA!

 

 

 

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