Thursday, June 26, 2008

FrontLine - Human Right Organization urge immediate release of Hindraf leaders from ISA

Mizan Zainal Abidin ibni al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud
Supreme Head of State (Yang di-Pertuan Agong)
Office of the Head of State
Istana Negara
50500 Kuala Lumpur
24 June 2008

Re: Malaysia – Human rights lawyer P. Uthayakumar denied medical
treatment in detention

Your Excellency,

Front Line is deeply concerned following reports that detained human rights defender and lawyer, Mr P. Uthayakumar, is being deprived of his required prescription medication for diabetes and is suffering from a number of diabetes related illnesses. Mr P. Uthayakumar is a human rights lawyer working to defend the rights of the ethnic minority Indians and an active Legal Advisor of Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF). He was arrested on 13 December 2007 for organising a peaceful demonstration.

Mr P. Uthayakumar has been a diabetic patient since 1996. His condition required that he take
medication, 500 mg of Glucophage three times a day and 80mg of Diamicron twice a day, which
would control his blood sugar levels and maintain a level of between 5 and 7 mmol/L. Following
his arrest on 13 December 2007, the prison authorities at first allowed his family to supply his
medication. In February 2008 the prison authorities refused to accept the medication and
furthermore did not provide Mr P. Uthayakumar with any alternative medication despite repeated formal requests that it be supplied or accepted from family members.

Mr P. Uthayakumar believes that the prison authorities have been intentionally providing him with a diet of rice and curry made in a 'Malay' style that is very sweet, in a deliberate attempt to affect his health. On 7 April 2008 he was admitted to the Taiping General Hospital, suffering from frequent thirst, urination, tiredness, headaches, dizziness, weakness, high blood pressure, skin disease and problems with his vision.

He had a blood sugar level reading of 18,8 mmol/L. An application has been filed at the Kuala
Lumpur High Court for a release order on the grounds of medical deprivation and treatment. It will be heard on 25 June 2008.

Mr P. Uthayakumar was arrested on 13 December 2007 together with Messrs M. Manoharan, V. Ganapathy Rao, Mr T.Vasanthakumar and R. Kengatharan, under the Internal Security Act (ISA) of Malaysia on the grounds of threatening national security by organising a peaceful demonstration.

All five human rights lawyers had taken up, on a pro bono basis, many cases of death in police
custody and police violence. They had filed many cases against the Malaysian Government and

Front Line believes that Messrs P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, V. Ganapathy Rao, Mr
T.Vasanthakumar and R. Kengatharan have been targeted as a result of their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, in particular their work defending the rights of the ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia. Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of the
aforementioned human rights defenders, in particular Mr P. Uthayakumar who is suffering from
diabetes and is not receiving the required medication.

Front Line urges the Malaysian authorities to:

1. Immediately release Messrs P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, V. Ganapathy Rao, Mr
T.Vasanthakumar and R. Kengatharan as it is believed that they are being detained solely
on account of their legitimate human rights activities;

2. Ensure that Mr P. Uthayakumar is supplied with all required medication for his condition and
medical attention as needed;

3. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological security and integrity of the aforementioned human rights defenders;

4. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry
out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals, and free of all
restrictions including judicial harassment.

Front Line respectfully reminds you that the United Nations Declaration on the Right and
Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally
Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted by consensus by the UN
General Assembly on 9 December 1998, recognises the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders, their right to freedom of association and to carry out their activities without fear of reprisals.

We would particularly draw attention to Article 6 (c): “Everyone has the right, individually
and in association with others: (c) To study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and, through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters
”, and to Article 12 (2): “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present declaration.”

Yours sincerely,

Mary Lawlor