47th Anniversary ISA August 2, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Human Rights, Islam in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, Southeast Asia.
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF 50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE IF THE STATE STILL USES THE ISA?
Today August 1, 2007 marks the 47th Anniversary of the enactment of the notorious Internal Security Act. The ISA of 1960 was originally enacted to succeed emergency laws aimed at combating the communist insurgency during the 1940s and 1950s, has since then been used against those who commit acts deemed to be “prejudicial to the security of Malaysia”, or threatening to the “maintenance of essential services” or “economic life”. The government arbitrarily determines which acts fall into these categories and, using a loose interpretation of the legislation, has detained scores of individuals under the ISA, among which are prisoners of conscience, trade unionists, teachers, religious activist and community workers.
We are celebrating 50 years of independence but what is the meaning of it if the state still uses ISA by detaining persons without trial and without any form of judicial process?
The draconian act infringes the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as listed below,
Article 5, Federal Constitution of Malaysia
* (3) Where a person is arrested he shall be informed as soon as may be of the grounds of his arrest and shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
* (4) Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonable delay, and in any case within twenty-four hours (excluding the time of any necessary journey) be produced before a magistrate and shall not be further detained in custody without the magistrate’s authority and
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
Are We Still In A State Of Emergency To Resort To Such “Emergency” Law As ISA?
The ISA has been kept in use all this time mainly because it is a very convenient tool at the disposal of the ruling coalition. The ISA itself has served as an instrument of terror of the State and used consistently against dissidents who have defended the democratic and human rights of the Malaysian people. While we are not under any state of emergency, ISA’s cloud still put us in under a state of siege mentality. Even if there is a state of emergency, there can be no justification for a person to be detained for extended periods of time without trial. Any wonder that such a draconian law was enacted on the year the Emergency was declared over!
Torture under ISA
All these years under the ISA, the first sixty days of solitary confinement have been more draconian than even the security laws in South Africa under Apartheid, or even in the Northern Ireland during the war against the Irish Republican Army.
In February 2004, 31 ISA detainees who were alleged as terrorist of Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and held at the Kamunting detention camp, accused the police of applying 59 forms of mental and physical torture, among them round-the-clock interrogation depriving detainees of sleep, stripped naked during interrogation, forced to urinate in a bottle, forced to drink spittle of interrogators, beard shaved and burned, ordered to make tea, massage the interrogators, threat to arrest their family members, kicked and beaten up etc.
In an ongoing civil suit of a detainee against the government, former detainee Malek Hussin told that he was stripped naked, kicked and beaten-up, forced fed dirty and stinking water and subjected to sexual abuse.
Every decade has grisly tales of torture to relate. These dark deeds by the Malaysian Special Branch are the scandalous side of “Malaysia Boleh”. The biggest scandal of all is that to date, none of these torturers have been brought to justice, nor have deterrent sentences been passed on them. These cases are only tips of the iceberg. While the government denies any such acts, it remains very difficult for victims of torture to prove the acts, especially while in detention. (To be continued)
(Statement by Abolish ISA Movement)