Saturday, April 12, 2008

GMI- Calling to release all ISA detainee

GMI: Enough of 6 years of ISA cruelty
Malaysiakini-Azreen Madzlan Apr 11, 08 6:16pm

As part of its ongoing campaign to seek justice for all Internal Security Act detainees, the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) today launched a host of new measures to highlight the perils of detention without trial.For starters the movement aim to collect 300,000 letters from member of the public to be sent to the United Nation in the hope of raising the human rights issues in Malaysia. They would also be sent to Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar.The new campaign - themed ‘Enough of six years of cruelty’, to signify the duration 10 men have been detained for allegedly being members of Jemaah Islamiah - was launched this morning at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.According to GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh the campaign will also try to gain the support of the 82 Pakatan Rakyat members of Parliament.The letter will be sent to the Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar and High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nation in Switzerland.Syed Ibrahim was confident that the new campaign would augur success, taking note of the recent dramatic changes in the country’s political landscape.“If people have shown their courage to deny Barisan Nasional two-thirds majority in the Parliament, let’s all of us rise again to pressure the government to release all the ISA detainees,” he said.Although principally the campaign was targeted for the 10 alleged JI detainees who have been incarcerated for six years, GMI reiterated that all other ISA detainees including the Hindraf 5 must be tried fairly in courts or released unconditionally.

Also present at the press conference were GMI campaign manager Noorlaila Othman and member of Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council Syamsuriatina Ishak.

‘Call for media to play their part’

According to Noorlaila, the campaign was a response to Syed Hamid’s call last Sunday that the government would abolish the ISA if the people wanted it.“This is what we are doing, we’ll take the challenge. We will show him that the people do not want the ISA.” she said. Noorlaila - whose husband is one of the ISA detainees- added the letter-signing marathon campaign might be new to the Malaysian public compared to other countries and urged to media to promote this cause to the public

She added that the movement’s previous postcard campaign by GMI in 2006 has helped the release of nine ISA detainees.The campaign is a continuation of an international campaign organized by the Islamic Human Rights Commision (IHRC) launched last year.Meanwhile, Syamsuriatina said that one of the efforts undertaken by the Bar Council to support GMI was by having lawyers visiting ISA detainees in Kamunting detention camp.“This will help monitor the situation of the detainees. It will give them moral boost,” she said.

Release Uthayakumar
GMI also revealed that of the 10 who had been in detention for six years, five have been given an extension for a further two years, making their detention to run into eight years.All of the detainees are allegedly members of the JI extremist group. To date, none of the detainees have been charged for any offences in an open court.
Syed Ibrahim also questioned why the 10 detainees were not released when 40 others who were detained for the same reason have been released in the past years.“These are questions that have always been asked by the media. Is there any reason why they are being detained for so long?” he asked.
Syed Ibrahim also said that the movement was also said, concerned with the health of Hindraf legal advisor P Uthayakumar, also an ISA detainee.“This has happened before. And it can be used as a form of mental torture on the detainees. For them to be denied the rights for medical treatment is a violation of human rights. It’s a gross injustice,” he said.He added the government must take this matter seriously and allow Uthayakumar to be given full medical treatment. He also called for the release all the Hindraf 5 leaders.