PRESS STATEMENT: 8 MAY 2009
Another 13 Detainees Released but New Detention Continues!
Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) welcomes the release of 13 more ISA detainees as announced by the newly appointed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today. These include three Hindraf leaders of which one of them, M. Manoharan is a state assemblyman of Kota Alam Shah, Selangor. The release must be attributed to the public's consistent and persistent campaign to call for them to be freed.
However, GMI has always believed that the detainees were never proven guilty in any court of law and should not have been detained in the first place. The same goes for the remaining 14 detainees in the “Malaysia Guantanamo Bay” – the Kamunting Detention Camp of which some were detained for the same allegations as those who were released.
GMI is also concerned by the conditional and selective release of the ISA detainees. Of the remaining 14, there are three Malaysians who are serving their 8th year of detention, the longest so far in Malaysian’s civilised modern history! They are Dr Abdullah Daud, Mat Sah Mohd Satray and Shamsuddin Sulaiman. Why have they not been released?
GMI wishes to reiterate its views that the best act of sincerity and honesty on the part of the government based on true principles of justice is to put people’s interest first and therefore release all ISA detainees, not just some of them. The bravest act is to place justice where it should be. ISA permits detention without trial and outraging wide powers. It was not just abused but it is an abused bad law. ISA must be abolished and its victims released or put on trial.
GMI regards the timing of the release as mischievous as it came following the ugly episode in Perak, not just the manner in which BN oust the Speaker and took control of the State Assembly but also the way many unwarranted arrests were made violating freedom of expression as enshrined under the Constitution. Was it politically motivated?
With the announcement, it actually proves the arbitrary powers under ISA to detain, sentence and release detainees according to most suitable time deemed to be advantageous for the ruling party. As long as ISA exists, the powers will continue to subsist.
The list of the detainees released are as follows:
|1||Zainun Rasyhid (Indonesia)||Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)||2002|
|2||Sufian bin Salih (Filipina)||Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)||2004|
|3||Hasim bin Talib (Filipina)||Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)||2004|
|4||Adzmi Bin Pindalun||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|5||Ahamad Ghafar Shahril (Indonesia)||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|6||Jeknal Bin Adil (Filipina)||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|7||Husin Bin Alih (Filipina)||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|8||Yusoff Bin Mohd Salam (Filipina)||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|9||Abdul Jamal Bin Azahari (Filipina)||Darul Islam (DI)||2006|
|10||Zulkepli Bin Marzuki||Jemaah Islamiyah (JI)||2007|
|11||P. Uthayakumar s/o Ponnusamy||HINDRAF||13/12/2007|
|12||M. Manoharan s/oMalayalam||HINDRAF||13/12/2007|
|13||T. Vasanthakumar s/o Khrishnan||HINDRAF||13/12/2007|
For GMI, the release of the 13 is indeed good news for the detainees and their family members but we must be wary that in most cases, detainees were freed conditionally. They would be subjected to the Restricted Residence Act (1933) and other conditions. Failure of following the conditions may result in being re-arrested under the ISA.
GMI wishes to remind the people of Malaysia not to be easily deceived by the recent release of ISA detainees. The real fact is the government also has been arresting people under ISA. The latest arrest of the Mas Selamat Kastari and three more detainees, Agus Salim (has been released on the 30th April 2009), Abdul Matin and Johar bin Hassan last month under the ISA shows how hypocrite the government is. GMI condemns the arrest of those individuals under the ISA and demand for their release immediately. GMI urges the people of Malaysia to demand for the release of all ISA detainees and abolish the ISA once and for all.
The unscrupulous practice has exhibited the true colour of the infamous ISA, which is extremely arbitrary and has nothing to do with national security. It has further confirmed that the ISA is only a political tool to silence dissidents and critics of the government.
GMI urges the Malaysian government to:
- Release all ISA detainees immediately or prosecute them in an open court.
- Abolish the ISA that permits detention without trial immediately.
Abolish the ISA!!!
Release all ISA detainees!!!