Security Offences Act violates human rights, says Suaram

Non-governmental organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) today sent a memorandum of protest to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) on the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), which it said deprives detainees of their rights and gives full power to the police and courts.
Suaram representative Syukri Razab said in the memorandum that 11 people had been arrested under Sosma since April 28 and seven of them were detained in the Shah Alam and Bukit Aman lock-ups.
Six detainees were men under the age of 30, one was disabled and another was a 56-year-old woman, he said.
Syukri said families of the Sosma detainees were not informed of the reasons for their arrest because police were acting under Section 4(1) of Sosma which allowed arrests without a warrant.
He said the forms given to families detailing the grounds for the arrest were unclear and most relatives were only able to meet the suspects eight days after their arrest.
“According to Section 5(3) of Sosma, police can delay family access to the detainees for up to 48 hours after their arrest.
“But what has happened is that police are not only delaying family access, but the detainees are also not allowed to meet their family without permission from the investigating officer, even after the 48 hours have lapsed,” he said when submitting the memorandum to Suhakam’s office in Kuala Lumpur.
He said that police officers would also monitor family visits closely.
Syukri said the jurisdiction given to police under Sosma was so wide that it allowed them to arrest individuals without concrete evidence.
“Arrests exceeding 10 days, without access to a lawyer, give room for police to interrogate the detainees using mental and physical torture.”
He said trials under Sosma were one-sided, as Section 14 of the act allowed public prosecutors to withhold the identity of prosecution witnesses from the accused and their lawyer.
Syukri said this allowed them to call forward false witnesses.
Suaram also hit out against Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for telling reporters on May 2 that police had concrete evidence to charge all those arrested for militant activity.
“If they really did have evidence, the police could have arrested every suspect using the Criminal Procedure Code and brought them to court immediately.”
He called on Suhakam to examine Sosma and decide whether or not it abided by human rights principles.
“Suaram urges the Malaysian government to abolish Sosma on the grounds that this act violated human rights principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution.”
Suhakam commissioner James Nagayam said he would study the memorandum and organise a visit to the detention centre to inspect the condition of the Sosma detainees.
“Suhakam will look into the case before visiting the detainees. Usually the police and prison authorities give Suhakam their full cooperation.
“We will provide feedback and a report on the detainees’ condition to their families,” he said.