Friday, December 12, 2008

Penang Police’s Shameful Disregard for Humanity on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights! (english)

Penang Police’s Shameful Disregard for Humanity on the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights!

As people over the world celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Penang Police has shown the world yet again why Malaysia remains in the backwaters of human rights practices.

Yesterday, Penang state deputy police chief Salleh Mat Rasid conceded that there was no sufficient evidence to charge 8 suspects of the RM48 million chip heist at Intel's plant in 2006 in court but still claimed police have proof that they are criminals.

This statement is both shocking and baffling because suspects are NOT criminals until they are proven guilty in a court of law, how can such a high ranking officer belittle judicial process? Hence, as there can be no acceptable reason for the police to arbitrarily detain them under the Emergency Ordinance at the Simpang Rengam Rehabilitation Centre for two years which can be renewed indefinitely, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Penang strongly condemns Salleh’s comment.

SUARAM Penang now urges the Penang police to announce whether the reported eight suspects are still under detention without trial and publish the list of detainees at the soonest. We demand that the police either charge these persons in court or release them immediately. No human being should be denied his legitimate freedom just because the police have been inefficient in their investigations.

According to Article 11 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), anyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

In Malaysia, unfortunately, there are several acts that allowed detention without trial such as the infamous Internal Security Act 1960, Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (EPOCPO) and Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.
Article 10 of the UDHR states very clearly that everyone has the right to effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law. The Malaysian government’s continual retention of such draconian laws is proof that it is insincere in recognising basic human rights. Sadly, past experience has taught us such laws have been used not for security purposes but for the purpose of protecting political power.

Any detention without trial is a serious violation of human rights, SUARAM Penang would like to commend Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng statement that his government does not support detention without trial.

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