Friday, December 21, 2007

Parents visit death row girl (37 Malaysians convicted of or awaiting trial for drug-related offences in China)

Friday December 21, 2007 (Star)

Parents visit death row girl


GUANGZHOU: Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim, who is facing the death sentence for heroin trafficking here, received a surprise Hari Raya Haji gift yesterday.

Her parents, Mohamad Lazim Jusoh and Umi Slaia Ibrahim, visited her at the Shantou Detention Camp.

Parental pain: Mohamad Lazim and Umi Slaia looking at their daughter’s picture at their house near Pasir Puteh recently. They got to meet her yesterday. — Bernam
It was an emotional meeting for the family and a brief one due to prison regulations. They hugged each other and talked for 30 minutes.

Mohamad Lazim brought along his eldest daughter’s favourite dishes – beef sambal, fish crackers, fried mini popiah and biscuits.

Umi Azlim, 24, a Universiti Malaysia Sabah graduate in Biological Science, was detained at Shantou airport on Jan 29 after immigration officers found 2.98kg of heroin on her.

She was given the death sentence in May and is not allowed to appeal for two years.

Mohamad Lazim said his daughter was surprised to see both of them and had sought their forgiveness. He said prison authorities provided books for her to read.

Umi Azlim: Allowed to see her parents for 30 minutes
“I told her to control herself as it was pointless shedding tears over what has happened,” he said, adding that they did not discuss the drug smuggling case.

“We are not here for that reason nor to find a solution but to see her. We had not seen her for two years. We are sad but managed to see her on Aidiladha. This is a blessing after our prayers.

“Umi (Azlim) told us that a friend had shown her an Internet advertisement which offered a lot of money for sending goods,” he said.

“I’m relieved and happy that my daughter is in good health. She can already speak Chinese and teaches English to the others,” said Umi Slaia.

Mohamad Lazim said that on his return to Kelantan, he would discuss ways to engage a Chinese lawyer to file an appeal.

The former soldier, who is now a mechanic at Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd, and his wife are scheduled to return to Malaysia tomorrow.

Malaysian vice-consul Haniah Mohd Adenan, a local staff member of the consulate and officials from the Foreign Affairs Department accompanied the couple to the camp, located 470km from here.

PAS Supporters Club chairman Hu Pang Chaw, who acted as interpreter, was among those accompanying the couple from Kota Baru.

Hu said Malaysia did not have any representatives in Shantou so the Malaysian consulate here had arranged with the Chinese Foreign Affairs to meet them at Shantou Airport.

Umi Azlim is among 37 Malaysians convicted of or awaiting trial for drug-related offences in China.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

UN General Assembly passes resolution calling for "MORATORIUM ON THE DEATH PENALTY.."

18 December 2007
General Assembly

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly


76th & 77th Meetings (AM & PM)


Adopts 54 Resolutions, 12 Decisions Recommended by Third Committee

The General Assembly today adopted 54 resolutions and 12 decisions recommended by its Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural), including a landmark text calling for a moratorium on executions to be established in all States that still maintain the death penalty, as well as a resolution strongly condemning rape against women and girls in all its forms, including in conflict situations.

The resolution calling for “a moratorium on the death penalty”, was passed by a vote of 104 in favour to 54 against, with 29 abstentions. (See annex VI.) It called on all States that still allowed capital punishment to “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed”. Those countries were also called on to provide the Secretary-General with information on their use of capital punishment and to respect international standards that safeguard the rights of condemned inmates.

Echoes of the intense two-day debate that preceded approval in the Committee of the resolution on a moratorium on executions reverberated in the Assembly hall, with a number of delegations arguing that the death penalty was not illegal under international human rights legislation and that it was the sovereign right of each and every State to determine its own judicial system. Two similar proposals had reached the Assembly in 1994 and 1999; in the first case, it was defeated by eight votes, while in the second, it was withdrawn at the last minute.

Among those delegations opposing the resolution, the representative of Barbados said the European Union and other main sponsors were trying to impose their will on other countries. “Capital punishment remains legal under international law and Barbados wishes to exercise its sovereign right to use it as deterrent to the most serious crimes,” he said just ahead of the vote.

Singapore’s representative said it was unfortunate that the resolution’s co-sponsors had handled the issue not as a debate, but as a lecture. There had never been any attempt to reach consensus. They had ignored the diversity of States and their judicial systems. In addition, they had resorted to pressure tactics and demarches. While the co-sponsors would celebrate their victory, it had come at the expense of acrimony in the Third Committee. Each State had a sovereign right to choose its own political, criminal and judicial systems, he said, stressing that Singapore would continue to follow its own course in the matter..... (go to for the rest of this document, the relevant annex showing the votes for this "moratorium resolution on the death penalty" is enclosed)


Vote on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty

The draft resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty (document A/62/439/Add.2) was adopted by a recorded vote of 104 in favour to 54 against, with 29 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Canada, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

Against: Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Chad, China, Comoros, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, United States, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Abstain: Belarus, Bhutan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Morocco, Niger, Republic of Korea, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Togo, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, Zambia.

Absent: Guinea-Bissau, Peru, Senegal, Seychelles, Tunisia.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

UN Assembly calls for moratorium on death penalty

UN Assembly calls for moratorium on death penalty

Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:39pm EST
By Daniel Bases

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, overcoming protests from a bloc of states that said it undermined their sovereignty.

The resolution, which calls for "a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty," was passed by a 104 to 54 vote, with 29 abstentions.

"The resolution is not an interference, but we call on each member state of the United Nations to implement the resolution and also to open a debate on the death penalty," Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said after the vote.

"The moratorium is an important opportunity for international debate," he told reporters. Italy, speaking on behalf of the EU, was a strong proponent of the resolution.

Two similar moves in the 1990s failed in the assembly. The resolution's text stops short of an outright demand for immediate abolition; it carries no legal force but backers say it has powerful moral authority.

Among nations who voted against were Egypt, Iran, Singapore, the United States and a bloc of Caribbean states.

Eighty-seven countries -- including the 27 European Union states, more than a dozen Latin American countries and eight African states -- jointly introduced the resolution, though opponents singled out the EU as the driving force.

The resolution picked up several extra votes in the General Assembly since it was passed by a U.N. human rights committee last month by a vote of 99-52 with 33 abstentions.

Barbados, one of the most vocal opponents of the measure, said sponsors were trying to impose their will on other countries and that it had been threatened with the withdrawal of aid over the issue.

"Capital punishment remains legal under international law and Barbados wishes to exercise its sovereign right to use it as a deterrent to the most serious crimes," Mohammed Degia, first secretary for Barbados, said just prior to the vote.

"Beyond all of this is the simple fact that the question of the death penalty is basically one of criminal justice as enforced and upheld within national legal systems," he said, noting that Barbados had not carried out an execution in decades but still retained the right to do so.

The United States voted against but kept a low profile throughout the resolution's progress to a vote.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman Michele Montas said Ban welcomed the vote.

"Today's vote represents a bold step by the international community," Montas quoted Ban as saying in a statement. "This is further evidence of a trend towards ultimately abolishing the death penalty."

According to rights group Amnesty International, 133 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Opponents of the moratorium, however, said more than 100 countries retained capital punishment on their statutes, even if they did not all use it.

China, Iran, Iraq, the United States, Pakistan and Sudan account for about 90 percent of all executions worldwide, according to Amnesty.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested ( & 3 Ors as well)

As of 4.00pm, they are apparently still being held at the Ibu Pejabat Kontijen Polis (the big building beside the old Pudu Jail - as to whether they will be charged for illegal assembly, attempted murder or detained further under the Internal Security Act for having links with some terrorist groups is still a question mark - nowadays as it was also the case before anything is possible.

Call on the Prime Minister and the government of Malaysia for their immediate release
N Surendran, Amer Hamzah, Latheefa Koya and the 5 others, and for them not to be charged for exercising their right to assemble peacefully..

(The Bar Council had earlier that week ,having succumbed to fears and threats, canceled the Human Rights Day March - and interestingly their Human Rights Chairman, Edmund Bon, was also got arrested much later for apparently preventing DBKL officers removing banners outside the Bar Building.....

The put pressure - the Bar Council called off the Human Rights walk

They put pressure - the Bar then moved the Human Rights festival from Central Market back into their own building

They put pressure again to take out banners in the Bar Building ...and when they resisted finally - their Human Rights Chairman gets arrested

The lesson:- The more you succumb to government threats and pressures, the more the government will push until at the end there is no more human rights and democratic space - it never ends until people overcome their fears and take a stand

After all it seems that our Malaysian government wants a docile citizenry, one who will loyally say "All is right - government is good - no other regime can rule Malaysia - Malaysia boleh...boleh UNITY)

Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested

Sunday, 09 December 2007, 08:21am

Human rights march: 5 lawyers arrested©Malaysiakini
by Syed Jaymal Zahiid | Dec 9, 07 8:16am

The police have arrested eight people, including five lawyers, for proceeding with a march to mark International Human Rights Day from the Sogo department store to Central Market in Kuala Lumpur early this morning.

The arrests came after a failed attempt by the organisers of the march to negotiate with the police to allow them to finish their march at their intended spot.

The 100-odd crowd was already halfway to their destination when the police give the marchers a 10-minute warning to disperse.

The organisers, who believed that they could complete their march within the time limit, wanted to press on. According to an eyewitness, the police however cordoned off the area, moved in and made the arrests even before the stipulated deadline expired.

Those arrested included five lawyers - N Surendran, Latheefa Koya, R Sivarasa, Eric Paulsen and Amer Hamzah. Others were Anthony Andu, Norazah Othman and an unidentified activist.

They were arrested near the Jalan Tun Perak LRT station and were immediately taken to the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

The eight were arrested under the Police Act for illegal assembly, said Dang Wangi's acting Superintendent Che Hamzah Che Ismail.

The remainder of the marchers dispersed following the arrests.

"Authorities seem to be upset by any visible signs of protest and I think this is a problem with the country," said Sivarasa, who is also a leader of PKR.

"They don't seem to be able to deal with peaceful dissent," he told AFP before he was arrested.

Organiser Latheefa said that Malaysians needed to continue to exercise their constitutional right to public assembly.

Willing to cooperate

Earlier today, at about 8am, the small group of about 100 gathered at the Sogo departmental store under the watchful eyes of the police. There were however no signs of the dreaded Federal Reserve Unit and their water cannon trucks.

The marchers had carried banners that read "Lawyers for the freedom of assembly" and "Government that abuses human rights is terrorist."

Eyewitnesses said that one of the persons arrested was dragged into the waiting police truck and the arrests were done despite the marchers’ willingness to cooperate with the police.

This small group of marchers have undertaken this march after the Bar Council had dropped its annual march in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day celebration - which falls on Dec 10 - due to pressure to obtain a police permit.

Yesterday the police had warned the public not to participate in the march given that no permit had been issued for the gathering.

"As no permit has been issued for the gathering, those who take part in it can be charged under Section 27(5) of the Police Act 1967 for participating in an illegal assembly," warned Che Hamzah in a Bernama report.

Upon the decision of the Bar Council to call off the march, at least 15 lawyers decided to proceed with the walk to make a statement that citizens have a right to assemble peacefully and without prior requirement of a police permit.

Venue changed

Two days ago, Surendran had said that the march was purely initiated by a group of concerned lawyers, adding that the organisers will not be applying for a police permit.

“We think that applying for a permit is a negation of our fundamental right to freedom of assembly as enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution,” he had explained.

“We feel the (Bar Council) march was called of due to undue pressure from the authorities. We want to send a message that the people of Malaysia have the right to a peaceful assembly,” Surendran said.

Bar Council chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan meanwhile had explained that the decision to call off the march was made after “anxious consideration to the present circumstances that surround the event, particularly the interests of the public and the Malaysian Bar."

The Bar Council also moved its “Festival of Rights” event today to its own building located near Central Market after police insisted that organisers apply for a permit to hold the event at Central Market.

In a related development, Ambiga today expressed disappointed over not being allowed to see the arrested people.

Ambiga said that the march was peaceful and slammed the arrests as "totally unnecessary and unfortunate."

"The Bar holds the view that requirement of police permit is unconstitutional," she told reporters.

Meanwhile the police continued to exert pressure on the Bar Council over their ‘Festival of Rights’ by arresting the council’s human rights committee chairperson Edmund Bon, allegedly for preventing the authorities from performing their duty.

Eyewitnesses said that Edmund was arrested at about 12.45pm for blocking Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officials from removing human rights banners outside the Malaysian Bar building in Leboh Pasar Besar in Kuala Lumpur.

Thursday, December 06, 2007



The Bar Council has called off the December 9 Human Rights Walk. I think it was a mistake to have done so, but I have no interest in debating here the rights and wrongs of that decision. I write solely to declare that Iawyers who are determined to defend the freedom to peacefully assemble will nevertheless march on Sunday Dec 9 at 7.30am from Sogo to Central Market in commemoration of Human Rights Day.

We will march for the following reasons :

a) because it is our inalienable right to do so;

b) because Article 10 of the Federal Constitution gives us the right;

c) because they've got some cheek telling us we've got to petition the constabulary before exercising our fundamental rights.A right which can only be exercised with the consent of the District Police Chief is a shrivelled up and pitiful kind of right. It is a shadow of the shadow of a right;

d) because we're inclined to be part of a culture of obedience to the high-handed directives of a tainted and unjust state apparatus;

e) because we're even less inclined to be menaced by a State which is so pathetically terrified of its citizens peacefully assembling.

Let us be clear about this: Any march/walk that is carried out under the authority and indulgence of the local police chief is not an assembly of free citizens. It is then nothing more than a chain-gang of miserable citizens marching under a cloud of fear.

The Bar Council as an institution has decided to cancel the march; but there is no reason why lawyers in their individual capacities and civil society groups should not carry on with the Sunday march. In view of the increasingly strident attacks by the authorities on the right to peacefully assemble, we have formed " Lawyers for Freedom of Assembly" to defend and protect that right. Caving in to the threats and hard tactics of the authorities will seriously set back the ongoing struggle for a just and free Malaysia.

All lawyers and civil society groups are welcome to join the " Lawyers for Freedom of Assembly" for our march on Sunday. Support this move to preserve the basic rights of all Malaysians.

Written by: N Surendran

For Inquiries:
N Surendran

Latheefa Koya
012 3842 972

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

PAS to pay travel costs for detained woman's dad

Wednesday December 5, 2007 (Star)

PAS to pay travel costs for detained woman's dad

KOTA BARU: Kelantan PAS plans to pay travel costs and legal expenses for Mohamad Lazim, 50, father of Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim who is now detained in Guangzhou, China after she was sentenced to death by the High Court there for smuggling heroin.

Its committee member Datuk Husam Musa said Mohamad, a mechanic, met party officials Wednesday.

"We will also foot the legal expenses and engage a defence lawyer in China to handle the legal issues surrounding Umi," Husam said after attending the state exco meeting here.

Umi's mother Umi Slaia Ibrahim, 45, who sells "goreng pisang" near the family home in Kampung Tok Kamis, Pasir Puteh said she wanted to meet her daughter and find out how she ended up in jail, awaiting the death sentence.

She said her daughter travelled to China on a company errand to deliver equipment for foot massaging, adding that she was searched at the airport where among her possessions was a package containing heroin.

Pasir Puteh Umno division head Datuk Kamaruddin Md Noor is also taking an interest in the case and has sent officers to interview the family.

"Of course, we are concerned for any Malaysian citizen to be facing the gallows overseas. We would study where we can accord help," he said.

She was charged in May and sentenced to death in June. Under China's laws, she will be given two years to appeal.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Malaysian gets death for drugs in China

Tuesday December 4, 2007 (Star)

Malaysian gets death for drugs in China

PASIR PUTEH (Kelantan): A 24-year-old woman from Kelantan has been sentenced to death by the Guangzhou High Court in China for trafficking in 2,983gm of heroin.

Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim was sentenced on May 15 and has two years from the date of conviction to file an appeal.

Her mother, Umi Slaia Ibrahim, 45, said the family had not heard from her for a year and was shocked to receive a letter dated July 12 from Wisma Putra stating that her daughter was being held in China since Jan 19.

Umi Azlim: Her family had not heard from her for a year.
“This is so distressing,” Umi Slaia said at her home in Kampung Tok Kamis here yesterday.

The drugs were found in Umi Azlim's luggage on arrival in Shantou.

Umi Azlim is a Universiti Malaysia Sabah graduate and said to have been working for a company selling foot massage equipment in Kuala Lumpur.

Her mother said Umi Azlim was frequently sent abroad as she was fluent in English.

“She used to call home regularly but the calls stopped in January,” she said.

Another Malaysian, Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, 22, is being held at Tokyo's Kosuke detention centre also for drug smuggling. – Bernama