Friday, 22 June 2007

Memorandum to SUHAKAM 1: Arrests of 2 human rights defenders in JB a blatant abuse of police powers and gross violation of Constitutional rights

Date: 19 June 2007

Memorandum to SUHAKAM: Arrests of 2 human rights defenders in JB a blatant abuse of police powers and gross violation of Constitutional rights

Background

On 17 June 2007, residents in Johor Bahru organised a protest against stark rising crime rates in Johor in front of the Menteri Besar’s residence. Two SUARAM activists, Nyam Kee Han and See Siew Mun, who had intended to distribute a leaflet calling for the setting up of the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) at the demonstration, were arrested by police at about 11.00am when the demonstration was about to end.

Nyam Kee Han (male, 24) is the branch coordinator of SUARAM Johor Bahru while See Siew Mun (female, 27) is a secretariat member of the branch.

They were detained at the Johor Bahru police station for a night on 17 June and subsequently brought to magistrate’s court on 18 June for remand. The police applied for a three-day remand. The lawyer of the detainees, Abdul Razak protested the unjustified application. In the end, the Johor Bahru Magistrate Court only granted a 24-hour remand order at 2.30 pm, 18 June 2007.

Today, the police may release them, or charge them or apply for a further remand order. If charged by the police, the two human rights defenders may face charges of participating in illegal assembly and distributing leaflets under the Sedition Act.

Arrests a disrespect for Constitutional rights and blatant abuse of police power

SUARAM strongly condemns the arbitrary arrests of the two human rights defenders. They are clear examples of abuse of power by the police, misusing their authority to intimidate those who tried to expose the slack attitude and incompetence of the police force in resolving crimes.

In a time when crime rates are soaring high and the general public losing confidence in the police in solving crimes and protecting pubic safety, it is regrettable that the police seem to be more interested in intimidating and harassing peaceful citizens instead of busting crimes and catching criminals. This is not only a waste of public monies but gross violations of human rights of the citizen.

We therefore would like to raise the following complaints:

1. Arbitrary arrest

It must be stressed that the arrests should not have taken place in the first place. The two arrested activists were merely exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression which is unambiguously guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Malaysian Declaration of Human Rights. The demonstration on 17 June 2007 in Johor Bahru was peaceful, with no untoward incidents throughout.

2. Illegal detention

The police have blatantly abused their powers by detaining the two activists for more than 24 hours without charging them. Nyam and See were arrested at 11.30am on 17 June 2007 but only brought to the Johor Bahru Magistrate Court at 2.30pm on 18 June 2007. It is pertinent to point out that statements from the two arrested have not been taken by the police. Article 5(4) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia clearly states:

Where a person is arrested and not released he shall without unreasonably 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.”

In the case of Nyam and See, the police have failed to produce them before the magistrate within 24 hours. The detention of the two had been illegal by the time they were brought to the Magistrate’s court.

3. Unwarranted search of detainees’ house

We have also been informed that the police have obtained warrant to search the houses of the two arrested activists. This again clearly illustrates the abuse of power by the police. Based on the allegations brought against them – illegal assembly and distributing allegedly seditious leaflets – there is absolutely no need to search their houses as the two were arrested whilst having the leaflets with them. SUARAM views the search by the police at their houses as a further abuse of power and an attempt to intimidate the friends and families of the two.

4. Unjustified remand order

We strongly protest against the remand order given to the police. First of all, a case of illegal assembly and leafleting is very straight forward. There is no need for further investigation. Secondly, even if the police intend to conduct further investigation, they can always do so by giving police bail and release the detainees. The detention and the remand order are totally unnecessary and unjustified.

It must also be pointed out that no statement was taken by the police from the two within the first 24 hours of their arrests. Since no statement was taken, we question the need for remand orders on the two for further investigations. We view this as a deliberate attempt by the police to delay the release of the two arrested activists, especially when their statements have yet to be taken within 24 hours of their arrests.

5. Mala-Fide of Police Action

The arrests and the deliberate attempt by the police to delay the release of the two arrested activists clearly demonstrate that the police yet again failed to carry out its duties to protect the fundamental right of the people to live without fear, but instead have instilled fear of the public by abusing their powers blatantly.

Without charging them or taking their statements, the arrests of the two activists by the police are clearly a revenge with bad faith meted out to punish the human rights defenders for their dissent and action against police corruption and abuse of powers, rather than to investigate their cases.

We also deem this as an incident used by the police to silent rising public criticism against the police for their incompetence in solving crimes and corrupt practices.

Conclusion and Demands

The case of Nyam Kee Han and See Siew Mun illustrate further the falling public confidence in the police force. The need to set up the IPCMC is more urgent than ever to restoring the professionalism of the police force, enhancing the efficiency in solving crimes and ensuring public safety for all.

We demand SUHAKAM to:

  1. Pressure for the immediate and unconditional release of Nyam and See.

  1. Ensure that SUHAKAM’s recommendations on the right to peaceful assembly be respected by the police at all times.

  1. Demand that that the 24-hour investigation period be respected and not be misused by the police.

  1. Ensure that remand orders would not be conveniently given by the magistrates as in this case.

  1. Pressure for concrete action to be taken against police personnel who misuse their powers.

  1. Push for the implementation of the IPCMC immediately.

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通告 Notification

人民之友 对我国下届大选意见书
(华 巫 英)3种语文已先后贴出

作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在今年9月24日对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的“意见书”,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!

这篇意见书的英文译稿(标题是:Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”!)已于10月22日张贴在本部落格。马来文译稿(标题是:Undilah "calon yang membantah pengislaman negara": Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Mencegah puak Mahathir kembali kepada kuasa!)也已接着在11月13日在此贴出。

此外,人民之友也将通过电子邮件、微信、WhatsApp等方式,尽可能向全国各民族、各阶层、各行业、各宗教的团体和个人,传送我们的这份“意见书”供参考。我们欢迎跟我们对下届大选的立场和见解一致的团体和个人,将这份“意见书”传送到更多的人手中去!

我们希望,我们在意见书内所表达的对下届大选的立场和观点,能够准确而又广泛地传播到我国各民族、各阶层的人民群众中接受考验,并接受各党派在这次全国大选斗争和今后实践的检验。


Pandangan Sahabat Rakyat terhadap PRU akan datang telah diterbitkan dalam tiga bahasa (Melayu, Cina dan Inggeris)

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! " (投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!)dalam Bahasa Cina pada 24hb September 2017.

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut yang bertajuk Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”! telah diterbitkan dalam blog kita pada 22hb Oktober 2017 manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu telah diterbitkan pada 13hb November 2017.

Selain daripada itu, Sahabat Rakyat juga akan menyebarkan kenyataan ini seluas mungkin kepada pertubuhan dan individu semua bangsa, strata, profesyen dan agama seluruh Negara melalui email, wechat, whatsApp dan pelbagai saluran lain. Kami amat mengalu-alukan pertubuhan dan individu yang berpendirian dan pandangan sama dengan kami untuk turut menyebarkan kenyataan ini kepada lebih ramai orang!

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun amalan masa depan.


The Chinese, English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election have been published consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, on 24 September 2017, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!” (投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!)

The English rendition of this statement entitled "Vote for “candidates who are against State Islamisation”: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent “the return to power of Mahathir’s faction”!" and the Malay rendition entitled "Undilah "calon yang membantah pengislaman negara": Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Mencegah puak Mahathir kembali kepada kuasa!" had been released on 22 October and 13 November respectively.

Apart from that, Sahabat Rakyat will also make every effort to disseminate this statement as widely as possible to organizations and individuals of all ethnic groups, religions and all walks of life throughout the country via email, WeChat, WhatsApp and other channels. We welcome organizations and individuals with the same position and views to spread this statement to more people!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicity and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.

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