Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)/Abolish ISA Movement (AIM) condemns the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on the 58-year-old editor of popular news portal Malaysia Today, Raja Petra Kamaruddin. According to his wife Marina Lee Abdullah, 10 police personnel from Bukit Aman came to their home in Sungai Buloh at about 1.10pm and arrested him. They also confiscated a computer, some books and VCDs.
This is the second time Raja Petra, a father of five has been detained under ISA, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. His first arrest under the draconian security law was on 11 April 2001 and he was released after 53 days in detention.
At the moment, it is still unclear as to why Raja Petra was detained. At the time of the release of this statement, no information has been issued by the Government. GMI, and certainly Raja Petra’s family members, are extremely concerned about the safety of Raja Petra, based on what previous ISA detainees had gone through during the early hours and days of detention and interrogation. Numerous ISA detainees, past and present, have been subjected to torture (mental and physical), inhumane and degrading treatments. We demand that Raja Petra’s well-being and safety be guaranteed by the Police and the Government.
The use of ISA is totally unjustified and indefensible. There are ample other laws that can be used without having to violate the detainee’s right to trial. It is regretful that the government decided to switch from the use of the court of law to the use of the ISA in dealing with Raja Petra. The use of the ISA is in stark contradiction with the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It only goes to show that despite being a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Malaysian government pays scant respect to human rights
Is this the start of a crackdown on political dissidents and opponents by the government or another episode of Operasi Lalang 1987? We hope not, for the sake of the people and the country. The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right to an open and fair trial and the right to legal counsel are deprived under the ISA. The Government apparently has failed to learn the lesson from the 8 March General Elections. There is no room for such draconian laws as ISA!
GMI calls upon the government to:
1. Provide and ensure protection to Raja Petra
2. Allow legal access to the detainee and family members within 24 hours
3. Release Raja Petra immediately or charge him in the court
GMI also urges the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to condemn the government’s action. We also call upon the people of Malaysia to come together in solidarity to demand for the abolishment of ISA, the release of Raja Petra and all ISA detainees or charge them in court.
Release All the Detainees!
Close Down Kamunting Detention Camp!
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh