Wednesday, October 29, 2008
High-Handed and Unwarranted Harassment by the Police
The Bar Council is appalled at the high-handed and unwarranted arrest and detention of K. Shanti and 11 others, including a 6-year old child, on 23 October 2008 for attempting to see the Prime Minister to seek the release of those detained under the ISA.
The efforts of these concerned citizens constitute a legitimate exercise of their rights under the law. We are perturbed that such an expression of sympathy and concern is being treated as a violation of the law. Further we have been informed that they were brought to court this morning and 10 of them were remanded for a further three days, for investigations for alleged offences under the Societies Act.
We view this as a clear case of harassment and intimidation. We have been reliably informed by the detainees' lawyers that they had always made themselves available for any investigations by the police.
We see no reason why any of these persons should be detained for investigations. Their continued detention is perceived as a form of punishment rather than any legitimate attempt by the police to investigate.
The Bar Council calls for the immediate release of those who have been detained, and a stop to the continued harassment and persecution of persons expressing dissenting views.
24 October 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Indonesia will be ignoring the United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for a moratorium on executions...
On 18th December 2008 On 18th December 2007, the 'calling for a moratorium on executions to be established in all States that still maintain the death penalty'passed a resolutionThe 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 - to “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed”. Charles Hector Blog
Bali bombers' execution date set
Amrozi is known as the 'smiling bomber'
Three men convicted over the 2002 Bali bombings will be executed in early November, the Indonesian attorney general's office says.
The three - Imam Samudra, Amrozi and Mukhlas, also known as Ali Ghufron - were sentenced to death for their roles in the attacks which killed 202 people.
They were found guilty of planning the attacks, which targeted nighclubs at Bali's tourist resort of Kuta.
The bombings were blamed on the militant group Jemaah Islamiah.
Friday's announcement comes after several appeals made on behalf of the three men.
The three are held in Nusakambangan maximum security prison, where officials said the executions would take place.
A pledge by the attorney general to see them die by Ramadan - which fell in early September - was not met.
However in its latest statement, his office said: "All legal recourse for the convicts has been finalised, and all requirements met.
"The execution of Amrozi, Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra will be carried out at the beginning of November."
Earlier this month, Indonesia's Constitutional Court rejected defence arguments that the three should be beheaded, instead of being executed by firing squad, which, they argued, did not guarantee instant death and would amount to torture.
The BBC's Lucy Williamson in Jakarta says few Indonesians support the bombers, but the execution of men who say they were defending Islamic values is likely to spark some reaction even so. .- BBC, 24/10/2008 -Bali bombers' execution date set
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
6 October 2008
GENEVA -- "We strongly support the High Commissioner's initiative on improving respect for the human rights of detainees. As mandate holders of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, we visit places of detention in many countries and receive information from all around the world. A serious problem we encounter is that often there are no proper records of those deprived of liberty, or, worse, they are held in places of detention that are not officially recognized. It is also of great concern that many people should not be deprived of their liberty at all, since their detention is arbitrary. Others are being detained solely on the basis of administrative orders unrelated to the criminal justice system, for example irregular migrants. Deprivation of liberty as such, whether lawful or not, makes persons extremely vulnerable to a broad range of human rights violations.
Often detention places undue restrictions on detainees including regarding access to health care and on their rights to food, education, privacy, family life and to participate in the political life of their country. Worse, in many cases, overcrowding, the lack of air and daylight and poor hygienic standards in detention literally make detainees ill as such conditions are conducive to the spread of disease.
Persons deprived of their liberty run an increased risk of being subjected to torture and ill-treatment, and in some extreme cases, to enforced disappearance. The range of forms of violence we have witnessed in detention facilities is wide and includes beatings and electroshocks to various parts of the body, threats, stress positions, burning, putting needles under fingernails, shooting, water boarding and sexual violence. Unfortunately this is by no means an exhaustive list, and new methods keep being invented.
All too often we have seen that discrimination existing in societies at large is exacerbated when people are deprived of their liberty. Even when policies and practices aim to treat everyone equally, they often overlook the particular needs of women, minors, non-citizens, the sick and the disabled. Poor detainees suffer disproportionally from overcrowding and their access to healthcare and food is often reduced to a minimum. Those detained far from home suffer the most for lack of family support. Members of vulnerable groups or women run an increased risk of falling victims to sexual violence and slavery-like practices within places of detention, frequently with the tacit approval of, or directly committed by, State officials. Too often detention serves as a means of punishment without educational opportunities, thus further marginalising detainees rather than helping them to prepare for release.
Since violations of detainees' rights by definition take place behind closed doors and, in many places, no effective channels exist to denounce them, injustice done to detainees all too often remains unknown of and unaccounted for.
On the occasion of the week on "Dignity and Justice for Detainees", we call on all States to do their utmost to ensure that detainees, as all other human beings, are treated with respect and dignity. We also appeal to States to provide for effective complaints and monitoring mechanisms in places of detention, including efficient avenues to challenge the legality of detention and access to legal counsel, with a view to making human rights a reality for them.
Mr. Philip Alston, Special arbitrary executions; on extrajudicial, summary or
Mr. Jorge Bustamante, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants;
Ms Manuela Carmena Castrillo, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the Human Rights Council;
Mr. Santiago Corcuera Cabezut, Chairperson of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances;
Mr. Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the right to food;
Mr. , Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers;
Ms. Yakin Ertürk, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences;
Mr. Anand Grover, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
Mr. Vernor Muñoz, Special Rapporteur on the right to education;
, Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment;
Mr. Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism;
Ms. Magdalena Sepulveda, Independent Expert on the question of human rights and ;
Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences.
For further information on the Detention Initiative, visit the special web page entitled 'Dignity and Justice for Detainees Week' at www.ohchr.org
The Honorable Dato Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi
Head of Government of Malaysia
Paris – Kuala Lumpur, October 7th 2008
We are writing to you to express our utmost concern at the rising trend in Malaysia to detain peaceful civil society activists under the Intern Security Act (ISA). We believe that such arrests jeopardize freedom of expression in Malaysia, the protection of national security serving as a pretext.
Mr. Raja Petra Kamaruddin is running Malaysia-Today, the most popular blog in Malaysia for its courageous reports about corruption and abuse of powers by various authorities and government leaders. He was arrested on September 12, 2008 under the ISA and was served with a 2-year detention order on September 23. He is currently detained under the ISA at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak.
We believe that the decision to imprison Raja Petra for two years under Section 8 of the ISA aims at thwarting his habeas corpus application against his detention under Section 73 of the ISA. A new habeas corpus application will have to be filed against the 2 year detention under Section 8. In adjudicating the legality of detention based on the Minister’s satisfaction that a national security threat exists under Section 8, the courts have customarily applied a subjective test of ministerial satisfaction. In other words, courts are precluded from scrutinising the Minister’s decision to detain according to any objective criteria of reasonableness.
Ms. Teressa Kok, a member of Parliament and senior executive councillor of Selangor state government, had been arrested under the ISA on the same day, but was released a few days later.
Journalist Tan Hoon Cheng was arrested the same day under the ISA at her home in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. According to various sources, Tan Hoon Cheng’s arrest may be linked to her report about the racist statement made by Ahmad Ismail, a member of the ruling party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO). Tan Hoon Cheng wrote that Ahmad had reportedly stated that Chinese Malaysians are "squatters" in the country. She was released after one day in detention.
Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, V Ganabatirau, R Kenghadharan and T Vasanthakumar are still detained under Malaysia’s ISA. Hindraf, a coalition-based organisation, protests what they believe are discriminatory government economic policies against Malaysia’s Indian population. After a rally at Batu Caves, on December 13, the five Hindraf leaders were arrested and accused of having links with international terrorist organizations and of being involved in activities that amount to inciting racial hatred. FIDH and the World Organization Against Torture, in the framework of their joint programme the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, have been following closely their situation, and published a mission report recommending their immediate release.
FIDH and SUARAM call upon the government of Malaysia to release immediately and unconditionally Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the five HINDRAF leaders as well as all other ISA detainees, as their detention appears definitely arbitrary since it aims at silencing them.
More generally, FIDH and SUARAM consider that the ISA should be repealed in its entirety and all persons in Malaysia should be tried in conformity with international fair trial standards. Indefinite detention without trial can never be in conformity with international human rights standards.
Hoping that you will take into consideration the above mentioned concerns, we remain,
Swee Seng Yap
Executive Director of Suaram
Sunday, October 05, 2008
She said public support for the death penalty was most often based on the "erroneous belief that it is an effective measure against crime".
"The reasons for a seemingly strong public support for the death penalty can be complex and lacking in factual foundation. If the public are fully informed of the reality of the death penalty and how it is applied, many people may be more willing to accept abolition (of the death penalty)," she said at an inter-college debate on the death penalty, here Friday.
The debate on "Should Malaysia Abolish the Death Penalty?", organised by Amnesty International Malaysia, was between ATC College and Help University College.
Nora said in December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty and executions.
"The decision, adopted by the UN highest political body with universal membership, is a clear recognition of the growing international trend towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty, endorsed by the UN Secretary-General."
She said that today, two-thirds of the countries in the world had abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
Malaysia is among the countries where the death penalty is in place for offences such as drug-related.