Thursday, June 29, 2006

Suhakam Asks Police To Respect Court Decision

The Human Rights Commission Malaysia (Suhakam) Thursday asked the police to respect the court decision to free 15 prisoners who were detained under the Emergency Ordinance at the Simpang Renggam Detention Centre in Kluang, Johor.

Suhakam Commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said in a statement here the commission was taking a serious view of the incident at the detention centre Wednesday when police tried to rearrest the 15 who had been freed by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on June 22. "Suhakam believes that an arrested person should be brought to court and not detained under the Emergency Ordinance," he said.

Wednesday, five of the 15 who were freed escaped when police tried to rearrest them under the Ordinance. The five jumped out of the Prisons Department bus they were in when they realised police personnel in three vehicles were waiting to rearrest them. All the prisoners were arrested under Section 4 (1) of the Emergency Ordinance 1969 since two to six years ago for involvement in criminal violence. The rearrest was under Section 3 (1) of the Emergency Ordinance 1969 which enabled them to be detained for 60 days while waiting for the appeal decision from the Internal Security Ministry.

The High Court in Kuala Lumpur had issued an order for them to be freed immediately last June 22 and they should have been freed at 11am Wednesday.

Siva asked their families to report the matter immediately to Suhakam for immediate investigation to be carried out.

In another development, Kluang OCPD, ACP Mohd Fauzi Arshad said efforts to rearrest the five were being made.

Meanwhile, the counsels representing the detainees want the police to stop making a mockery of the court order since the Kuala Lumpur High Court had quashed the detention order of the detainees. Lawyers Baljit Singh Sidhu and N. Sivanathan said they has decided to file contempt of court proceedings against the police for rearresting their clients.

Speaking at a press conference here, Baljit said one of the detainees, Lee Choon Peng, 44, has been rearrested Wednesday after he had been detained for six years for violent crime. "The Internal Security Ministry has yet to file any affidavit on Lee during the period of his detention. All we ask for is that the police give the detainees a chance of "fair play", bring them to the court," he said.

Meanwhile at the same press conference, Bar Council Chairman Lim Chee Wee said the incident gave the wrong impression to the public that the court had become powerless while the police could take action according to their wishes.


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