FAQs on the ISA

Haris has posted a page on his blog HERE on FAQs on the ISA. Many thanks to Jaya for compiling the FAQ, and thanks to Haris for putting it up.

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A Kugan’s death in police custody: Murder

From Malaysiakini:

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail has classified the case involving A Kugan, the 22-year-old detainee who died in police custody on Tuesday, as murder.

To know more, Antares has Malaysiakini’s previous report, plus photos. Gruesome photos that stayed with me most of yesterday.

I cannot begin to describe what this could mean.

For someone to die with so little dignity left intact is a tragic story. But for that someone to die in such a manner while under police custody escalates this case to another level altogether.

I can’t speak of “the good ol’ days” when everyone could trust the police force to do whatever in their power to protect the people. I’m only 22, and I have never had any contact whatsoever with the police. I don’t know of such “good ol’ days”.

But I imagine that the police are supposed to be there for exactly that reason. To protect the people. They are supposed to be the law-keepers. Their presence is supposed to let us feel safe.

But for a murder to happen while someone is under their charge is completely outrageous. They are the law keepers. They are NOT above the law. And they cannot take law into their own hands.

This, of course, is not the first time that we are hearing of such atrocities happening to people who are under police custody. I’ve previously read of cases where females are molested or raped while under police custody. I’ve read about other people dying under police custody. I’ve read of the use of corporal punishment and abuse, sometimes torture even, of people under police custody.

For whatever “reasons” these things happen, they shouldn’t. Simply because it is sending out all the wrong messages about what the police are supposed to be doing.

The police are there to carry out investigations. To keep peace. Their job description does not include carrying out punishments. It does not include proclaiming a person guilty of an offense before a verdict in court has been reached. And they simply are not supposed to lay their hands on the people. Force is something that the police are supposed to use sparingly, and under the most dire of conditions, if not NOT AT ALL.

The murder of A Kugan adds to a long list of reasons why people are losing, or have lost, confidence in our police force.


Investigations on the Penan rape cases still ongoing?

This article was in the StarOnline today:

KUCHING: Police will be professional in their investigation of the alleged sexual abuse of Penan women to ensure that any perpetrator will be brought to justice, CID director Commissioner Datuk Mohd Bakri Zinin said.

We want to complete our investigation soon and make sure that the victims are protected,” he told reporters after meeting the state’s CID district chiefs here yesterday.

He said Penan representatives had indicated their willingness to assist the police in their investigation.

However, he said, the probe had to be handled carefully to prevent any miscommunication between investigators and the Penans.

Comm Bakri also said police had “no hidden inte­­­rest” in the matter and were sincere in wanting to help the Penans.

“Our interest is just to help the Penans. If there are reports that some of them have been abused, we will investigate,” he said, adding that police had solved five cases involving the Penan community since 1994.

The article indicates that police investigations are still ongoing, and incomplete, even as I am typing this.

Perhaps you will remember that earlier this month, I sent an email to the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development pertaining this issue. I asked of the outcome of the investigations that the Ministry carried out, and of the report that was supposed to come out in December.

To my surprise, I actually received a response from them, though it did not tell me much. They replied that the report has been handed to the Ministry, and that they will deliberate it before bringing it up in Cabinet (presumably some time in February), and will then decide whether to make a press statement after that.

Maybe the police are conducting separate investigations to that which were carried out by the ministry. But surely this case has been going on for too long. Far too long for the investigations to still be ongoing.

It’s good that there is still some news about this issue. At the very least, I know that it hasn’t been completely forgotten. But at the very slow rate that this is going, I can’t help but be reminded of a quote, one that we hear too often: “Justice delayed is justice denied”.


Questions, questions..

I have this habit of asking too many questions. That’s what I’ve been told. I look at it as being more of a good habit, than a bad one.

At this point in time, I’ve got a few questions running through my mind, though targetted at no one in particular. Simply because, I’m not sure who has the answers.

I read HERE that the Malaysiakini photographer was questioned by the police yesterday following a report that he made about his tape of the Abolish ISA vigil being tampered while under police custody.

Questions that follow my reading of this piece of news: (1) Why did the police arrest the photographer, who was clearly on an assignment? (2) Why did they need to take the camera, when just taking the tape would have sufficed? (3) What exactly happened to the tape? (4) Who tampered with it?

I asked the same questions when I first read and wrote about it HERE. The same questions that remain unanswered till this day.

And then of course, in the same Malaysiakini article from above, it states that the 23 people who were arrested during the night of 9 November 2008 while attending the vigil, and who were released later that night without charges, are going to be charged this Friday.

Again, questions are floating through my head. (1) Why the mass arrest? 23 people?! (2) Why arrest them during this vigil on the 9th of Nov, when previous vigils went on without a glitch? (3) Why are they being charged now, after more than 2 months? (4) Why such short notice?

And since we’re on the topic of these Abolish ISA vigils, I’ve got some other questions as well. (1) Why are the police only arresting those who attend the Abolish ISA vigils, and not the Pro-ISA protesters? (2) If the arrests and charges are for “illegal assembly”, then are we to assume that all Pro-ISA protests are “legal”? (3) Why are Pro-ISA protesters allowed to wear their T-shirts (“Yes to ISA” and the sort), while Abolish ISA T-shirts are not?

These are but a few of the questions that come to mind. I have plenty more where those came from. But, most importantly, will I – will WE – ever get an answer?

Somehow I’m reminded of a quote from Alfred Tennyson:

Someone had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply
Theirs not to reason why
Theirs but to do and die.

I wonder how much of that rings true.


The Abolish ISA vigils: What brings them back?

Honestly, what brings them back, week after week?

This question, it seems, can be asked to both the public, and the police.

Every week, people still seem to be going back to attend the vigil demanding that the ISA be abolished. What goes on, perhaps those who attend such vigils can tell these stories. And there are plenty out there who do.

But every week, the police come to ask these people to disperse. Every week, that is, since November 10th last year.

It seems yesterday was no different. Nat Tan and Anil Netto have some stories to tell.

With the police coming to ask that they disperse before they can even do anything, I wonder what it is that brings these people back to these vigils week after week. Perhaps those who do would like to share your reasons with the rest of us who don’t (or are unable to).

And I also wonder, what is it that brings the police back to “disperse the crowd” who attend these vigils, week after week? Perhaps those who see this happening would also care to share their views. 😉

What is it about these vigils that seems to bring people together, no matter what, and yet at the same time, brings the police to come and try keep them away?


17 released from Kamunting since November 2008

GERAKAN MANSUHKAN ISA

(ABOLISH ISA MOVEMENT)

PRESS STATEMENT

11th December 2008

17 Released from Kamunting Detention Camp from November till December!

Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) has been informed that 17 detainees who were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged links to international militant Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), Darul Islam (DI) and falsifying documents were released on from November to 4th December this year.

They are:

No

Name

Allegation

Date Arrested

Date Released

Detention Period

1

Mavalavan a/l Muthuramalingam

Foreign Agent

2007

Released on 4th December 2008

1 year

2

Mohd Faizol Bin Shamsudin

Foreign Agent

2007

Released on 4th December 2008

1 year

3

Mat Tarmizi Bin Shamsudin

South Thai Separatist

2005

Released on 4th December 2008

3 year

4

Abdul Rahman Bin Ahmad

South Thai Separatist

2005

Released on 4th December 2008

3 year

5

Abdul Murad Bin Sudin

JI

16/10/2002

Released on 2nd December 2008

6 year

6

Yazid Bin Suffat

JI

9-Dec-01

Released on 24th November 08

7 year

7

Sulaiman Suramin

JI

2003

Released on 24th November 08

6 year

8

Faycal Mamdouh

Falsifying documents

May 2008

Released on 11th November 08

7 months

9

Muhammad Shuaib Hazrat Bilal (Pakistan)

Falsifying documents

May 2008

Released on 11th November 08

7 months

10

Shaykinar Bin Guat (Filipina)

DI

2006

Released on 11th November 08

2 year

11

Argadi Bin Andoyok (Filipina)

DI

2006

Released on 11th November 08

2 year

12

Kasem Dayama (Thailand)

DI

2006

Released on 11th November 08

2 year

13

Raja Petra Kamaruddin

Blogger/Religious and Racial tension

12 /9/ 2008

Released on 7th November 2008

2 months

14

Zakaria Samad (Indonesia)

JI

2004

Released on 5th November 2008

4 year

15

Ahmad Zakaria (Indonesia)

JI

2004

Released on 5th November 2008

4 year

16

Terhamid Dahlan (Indonesia)

JI

2004

Released on 5th November 2008

4 year

17

Ariffin (Indonesia)

JI

2005

Released on 5th November 2008

3 year

GMI welcomes the release of the seventeen as they have not been proven guilty by any open court in Malaysia. We believe that the release of the detainees is the result of the persistent and continuous campaigns to demand for the abolition of the ISA.Furthermore the release of three 6-year detainees Yazid Bin Suffat, Sulaiman Bin Suramin and Abdul Murad Bin Sudin from the ISA is a victory for the recently-launched campaign, “Free 6-year ISA detainees” (Kempen Bebaskan Tahanan 6-tahun ISA), which is one of the main factors that catalyzed the process of their release.

GMI obtained the news of their release from the families of the ISA detainees and lawyers who visited Kamunting Camp recently.

The release of the seventeen, although welcomed, should not be seen as a substantial improvement in the state of human rights with regard to the use of the ISA by the government. 46 detainees are still currently being detained under the ISA, of which four are 6-year detainees. None of the detainees have been charged with any offences. We urge the government to release all remaining ISA detainees and to abolish the ISA and all other laws which permit detention without trial once and for all.

GMI reiterates that punishing or detaining people without giving them any opportunity to defend themselves is barbaric. Uncivilized laws that permit detention without trial are goes against the principles of democracy and should be abolished.

All ISA detainees should be released or be charged in the courts. Even if there is only one ISA detainee left, the struggle will still continue.

Abolish ISA!

Release All ISA Detainees!

Close Down Kamunting Detention Camp!

Released By,

Nalini.E
Secretariat


Cycling not allowed?

This is all becoming very disturbing. As we all know, the Anti-ISA candle-light vigils have seen their fair share of police arrests. According to the police, arrests were made because the vigils were without permit, ie. illegal assembly.

Now, the Jerit campaign, which is basically a cycling campaign by the people for change, is also hung up facing problems with the police. This morning, 16 Jerit cyclists were arrested, and the others under house arrest. Jed Yoong has the story HERE. The names of the 16 who were arrested, as stated in Malaysiakini, are:

A Sivaragen, 39
V Pannirselvam, 48
D Letchimi, 37
K Simon, 34
P Mohan, 41
Goh Chee Horng, 24
E Nalini, 26
K Bawani, 23
A Yesudas, 41
Salleh Alian, 46
Ahmad Naqib, 13
S Aruchelvan, 41
Nyam Kee Han, 25
Ngo Jian Yee, 29
Ang Pei Shan, 27
Chuah Seong Ping, 28

As reported in the same Malaysiakini article:

According to Nalini, who is also Suaram co-ordinator, the police arrested the group for illegal assembly.

“But I argued that it was not an illegal assembly as we were all just trying to cycle. But the police said that they received specific instructions to arrest us,” said Nalini.

According to the Jerit website HERE:

THE POLICE BAN ANY CYCLING ACTIVITY IN SKUDAI TOWN. ANYONE FOUND CYLING EVEN ALONE WILL BE ARRESTED.

I think, though I’m not sure, that the law states that any assembly of more than 3 people needs a permit from the police before it is considered legal. Meaning that if there are 4 people planning to gather, for whatever reasons, those people must attain a permit before gathering, otherwise it will be considered illegal.

Now, I say “for whatever reasons”, because I believe, and again I’m not sure, that the law does not state which reasons do NOT require a permit. So if a group of 5 people decide to meet up at Suria KLCC at 5.05pm on a Saturday for a celebration dinner, without a permit, that gathering would be considered to be illegal.

But, lucky us, the police don’t go around arresting such people. Because I trust that if that were the case, there simply aren’t enough police, and a whole lot of us, in fact ALL of us, would have been detained at least once in our lives.

But no. The police don’t do that.

And in this case, I think, I’m also not sure, that it’s because this particular piece of legislation we’re talking about here, the law that states that any assembly exceeding 3 people would need a police permit, is also up to police discretion. Meaning, I think, that if the police think that you’re “up to no good”, or if the police believe that your gathering is “peaceful” enough, then they’ll let you go.

Notice that it is also according to what the police *think* or *believe*. Meaning, they might not be sure, like how I’m not sure.

So in regards to the Anti-ISA vigils, and the Jerit Campaign that’s *trying* to get along right now, my guess is that the police *feel* that these activities are along the lines of “not peaceful”. Maybe. I don’t know.

Maybe, if we let our imaginations run wild for a little while, the police, or whoever is ordering these arrests to take place, think that candle-light vigils with *gasp* LIT candles will cause fires and damage to property, lives and other such things. Maybe the cycling campaign will encourage more people to join the cyclists, and then we’ll have a massive bunch of cyclists taking over the roads, streets and highways, so much so that nobody will drive cars anymore, car sales will drop drastically and the government will lose a lot of income.

That’s letting my imagination run wild.

But to be back on the real side of things, I cannot see why arrests have had to happen. Not during the Anti-ISA vigils, and not during this Jerit campaign.

The vigils, as far as I know, are carried out basically so that people can gather, and awareness about what the ISA really is can be created. It is to create awareness. I doubt that anyone was really plotting on how to break into the Kamunting Detention Camp and free the detainees. And same goes for the Jerit Campaign. Other than to create awareness and to hand over a memorandum at the end of the campaign, I doubt there is any plot or conspiracy behind it.

What the arrests have shown me, is that we are being regulated more and more. The police dictate whether we can gather or not. The police dictate whether we can cycle or not. The police dictate what T-shirts we can wear (Anti-ISA T-shirts, I have read, have been banned).

There was a time when I didn’t even THINK of applying for a police permit before organising an event for my school society outside of school grounds. Would there come a time when a group of 5 people who decide they want to meet up at Suria KLCC at 5.05pm on a Saturday for a celebration dinner, will need a police permit, or risk arrest?

*

Note #1: I write this assuming that the legislation DOES indeed allow for police discretion. If it does not, and explicitly states that ALL assemblies on public grounds exceeding 3 people require police permits, well.. what else have I to say?

Note #2: I’ve just noticed that the Jerit website stated that anyone found cycling ALONE in Skudai will also be arrested. That goes beyond ‘illegal assembly’. That is the police gone mad.