2003 Report by the Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Theo van Boven


Urgent appeals

824. On 4 February 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Dr. Badrul Amin, a leader of the Keadilan political party, who had been released from the Kamunting Detention Center on 13 November 2001. On 31 January 2002, Dr. Amin was reportedly re-arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) by police authorities as he was reporting back to the Rawang police station, as part of the conditions for his release from the Kamunting Detention Center. It is believed that Dr. Amin's arrest is the result of his continuation to publicly speak out against the Malaysian Government's alleged injustice. It is reported that following his release in November, the Malaysian authorities had placed him under stringent restrictions, requiring that he report weekly to the Rawang police station, and forbidding any delivery of mail, presence at public gatherings, or involvement in political activities.

825. By letter dated 25 June 2002, the Government indicated that his detention order was suspended on 3 November 2001 in accordance with Section 10(1) of the 1960 Act. He was subsequently released from the Kamunting Detention Centre and placed under restricted residence in Gombak District, Selangor, in accordance with Section 8 (5) of the same Act. The legal status of Badrul Amin Baharon was not changed by the suspended detention, although the he may enjoy freedom outside the Detention Centre. The Government pointed out that the suspension of the Detention Order was revoked on 31 January 2002 in accordance with Section 10(4) of the 1960 Act after it had been clearly established that the individual had intentionally breached the conditions set forth for the suspension of the Order as stipulated under Section 8(6) of the same Act. The above-mentioned person is therefore required to serve the remainder of his detention period.

826. On 23 April 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor, Head of National Youth (NY), Chua Tian Chang, NY vice-president, Lokman Noor Adam, Executive Secretary of Youth Wing (NJP), Saari Sungip, former Jemaah Islamiah Malysian president, Hishamuddin Rais, freelance journalist/film-maker, and Dr. Badrul Amin Bharom, National Youth Exco of the National Justice Party – NJP, who had reportedly been detained last year for their alleged participation in a plot to overthrow the government, and were sentenced in June 2001 to two years of imprisonment at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak, without having had recourse to a trial. It was reported that they started an hunger strikes on 10 April 2002, in protest against their continuing detention without trial. They are said to be experiencing health problems in connection with the hunger strike, are not receiving adequate medical attention and are being denied access to their medical records.

827. By letter dated 11 July 2002, the Government further informed that they started a hunger strike on 10 April 2002 to protest against the facts that the Government could not meet their demands for their immediate release and for allowing former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to undergo spinal surgery abroad. According to the Government, they were at all stages granted access to their respective families and lawyers and on 13 April 2002, representatives from the Commission on Human Rights of Malaysia met with them to hear their complaints and to check on their situation. One medical officer of the Centre was tasked to constantly monitor the health of the six individuals and at the same time, one medical doctor from Taiping Hospital undertook medical examination on each of them on a daily basis. On 17 April 2002, Badrul Amin Baharon and Hishamudin Rais were taken to Taiping Hospital to undergo medical treatment. They subsequently stopped the hunger strike. The remaining detainees stopped the hunger strike in the morning of 20 April 2002. Allegations that they were not receiving adequate medical attention were baseless as two medical officers were always on stand-by to monitor their health.

828. On 6 May 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapportuer on the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on behalf of the following 18 persons from the organisation Alaigal who had reportedly been arrested on 1 may 2002, during the annual May Day march that took place in Kuala Lumpur: Mohanarani (f), Dr. Kumar Devaraj, Nathan, the chairperson of the Livestock Committee Bukit Tinggi Estate, A. Devindran, three members of the Party Sosialis Malaysia, Dr. Nasir Hashim, V. Selvan, K. Ramasamy, five persons from the Plantation Workers Support Committee, Sivami Subramaniam, Sevan Doraisamy, Vankat Rao Naidu, Eswaran Sengalrayan, Ravi Chandran Muniandy, two members from SUARAM, S. Arutchelvan, Choo Shin Chei, and three members from WIMTECH, Lee Siew Hwa (f), Shaharuddin Adnan, Abdul Rahman Abdul Aziz, as well as a 8-year old boy, who were reportedly arrested in several areas of Medan Dang Wangi and Kuala Lumpur City centre, after an assault led by the Dang Wangi police District OCPD, at the front of the demonstration. Several demonstrators were said to have been hurt.

829. By letter dated 14 August 2002, the Government informed that the arrests were made only after the demonstrators refused to disperse. According to the Government, there was no child arrested during the incident. The 17 individuals mentioned in the Special Rapporteur’s urgent appeal were taken to Dang Wangi Police Station for interviews and investigations and all of them were released on bail on 2 May 2002. The bail was extended until 15 June 2002, the date these persons were requested to be present for further investigations. However, none of them turned up at the police station. The Government has further informed that the Royal Malaysia Police has submitted their investigations papers to the Deputy Public Prosecutor. On 16 May 2002, three of the arrested individuals filed a complaint with Tun H.S Lee Police Station. As far as the Special Rapporteur has been informed by the Government, their cases are still under investigation.

830. On 22 August 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent a joint urgent appeal with the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants and the Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Abitrary Detention concerning the amendments to the Immigration Act that entered into force on 1st August 2002. The amendments reportedly impose fines, up to five years imprisonment as well as mandatory whipping of up to six strokes of the cane for foreigners who are in Malaysia illegally. Reference was made to at least 64 undocumented migrant workers who were said to have been charged under this new Immigration Act in the last fortnight. They have allegedly been sentenced to up to three years imprisonment and one to six strokes of the “rotan”, a long bamboo rod.

831. On 17 October 2002, the Special Rapporteur sent an urgent appeal on behalf of Abdul Murad Sudin, Azahar Abdul Samad, Bakkery Mahamud, Nik Abdul Rahman Mustapha and Shaari Mustapha, who had reportedly been arrested under the ISA on 16 October 2002. Their whereabouts were unknown. It was alleged that the police claimed that theye had links with al-Qaeda and with Jemaah Islamiyah, a group accused of acts of terrorism.

832. By letter dated 25 November 2002, the Government confirmed that the Immigration Act 2002 as amended provided for the caning of irregular migrants and their employers as a deterrent to irregular migration. The Government specified that caning was not mandatory and it was not applied against women nor against men older that 50. According to the Malaysian Penal Code, caning could only be administrated on certain parts of the body, and the cane used could not be more than half-an-inch in diameter. Each sentence was accurately monitored by a medical officer and ceased when the latter considered that the sentenced person was unfit to be whipped. The Government considered itself as having been just and fair in implementing the Immigration Act.

Follow-up to previously transmitted communications

833. By letter dated 12 April 2002, the Government responded to the urgent appeal sent by the Special Rapporteur on 12 October 2001 on behalf of six religious teachers (E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, para. 945). The Government stated that the Police had grounds to believe that they were involved in militant activities that could threaten the public order and internal security of Malaysia. At the time the Government transmitted this response, they were detained at the Taiping Detention Center for a period of two years pursuant to an order issued by the Home Minister. Finally, the Government indicated that the Constitution and legislation of Malaysia ensure its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression and that this right shall be enjoyed within established parameters so long as they do not threaten public order and internal security.

834. By letters dated 21 and 25 November 2002 respectively, the Government transmitted information on cases which were included in a letter sent by the Special Rapporteur on 5 October 2000 (E/CN.4/2001/66, paras. 700 to 704). 835. Concerning the allegation regarding the break up of a demonstration in September 1999 in Kuala Lumpur (ibid., para. 700), the Government responded that the police personnel on duty during the incident had acted within the parameters provided by the Police Act 1967, which inter alia govern the conduct of operation by police personnel in handling cases of illegal assembly or demonstration. The latter allow the police to resort to the use of reasonable force in order to disperse and bring to an end illegal assembly.

836. Concerning Rosman Mohd Ariffin (ibid., para. 702), the Government confirmed that he had been detained on 21 September 1998 and indicated that he had been released on bail on 2 October 1998.

837. Concerning Mohamad Suffian (ibid., para. 703), the Government informed the Special Rapporteur that he was not in the list of those arrested on 17 April 1999.

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small logo   This report has been published by Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights on August 2, 2005.