Home Civil Society Voices 2016 Civil Society Voices Suaram: Torture mustn’t be condoned; probe, punish offenders; ratify UNCAT

Suaram: Torture mustn’t be condoned; probe, punish offenders; ratify UNCAT

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Suaram strongly condemns all form of torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment in Malaysia.

Between the countless deaths in police custody recorded over the years and the accounts provided by former Internal Security Act 1960 detainees, the use of torture by enforcement agencies in Malaysia is a known secret.

The similarity between the treatment experienced by Sosma detainees and the former ISA detainees suggests that the use of torture is not only systemic but endemic in cases of detention without trial.

Based on the allegations and reports received by Suaram, detainees have allegedly been subjected to the following acts:

  • used as a punching bag by officers
  • repeatedly slapped and beaten despite cooperating with the investigation
  • threatened at gunpoint during questioning
  • forced to strip naked and sexually harassed by officers
  • kept in a ‘dark room’ and beaten by several officers
  • subjected to threats against family members during questioning
  • kept in an air-conditioned room after being drenched in water
  • forced to confess to alleged crimes during questioning
  • had the whole family arrested and roughed up by officers
  • had wife threatened and beaten without reason during arrest
  • beaten in a police vehicle after arrest
  • forced to stand in an uncomfortable position with a piece of wood with detainee’s hands cuffed behind him
  • placed under severe emotional duress throughout the detention period through the use of threats against detainee and their family members

Recalling the moral and legal obligations of the government of Malaysia under international law and human rights declarations that Malaysia is a party to, Suaram reminds the government of Malaysia and all related agencies to fulfil its obligations under Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14 of the Asean Human Rights Declaration and recommendation 146.125 and 146.127 of the Malaysia’s second Universal Periodic Review.

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For justice to be done for the victims of torture and to prevent further use of torture in Malaysia, Suaram calls on the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) to conduct immediate investigations into the allegations made by Sosma detainees and to review the standard operating procedure of the Royal Malaysian Police on the use of torture.

Suaram also calls upon all enforcement agencies to:

  • uphold its legal and moral obligations to the people of Malaysia and
  • issue a clear and firm statement condemning the use of torture and
  • take positive and proactive steps in investigating the allegations made and
  • punish those guilty of torturing others.

Further, prevention of torture cannot be achieved without political will. On this note, Suaram calls on all political parties to adopt a stance against the use of torture and push for the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT).

Last but not least, security laws that provide for detention without trial – which creates a platform for secretive and opaque ‘questioning sessions’ that are seemingly rife with torture – cannot be allowed to continue unabated and must be put to an end immediately.

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram

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