Sunday, November 20, 2011

Subject: Fresh ISA arrests: Is gov't serious about repeal?
Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 9:53 PM

Fresh ISA arrests: Is gov't serious about repeal?
The arrest of a group of men under the Internal Security Act (ISA) earlier this week has exposed the government’s hypocrisy over the repeal of the Act, said activists.

In a joint statement today, Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh and Human Rights NGO Suaram representative E Nalini said the arrests contravene the government’s announcement that the Act will be abolished.

“What is the rationale behind the detention? Is the Prime Minister of Malaysia trying to fool the people of Malaysia with his hypocritical attitude? The PM should be ashamed of this arrest!” they said cuttingly.

azlanThey added that the Nov 14 and 15 arrests show that the repeal announcement was merely a “politically expedient” move.

“We would also like to remind the prime minister that over the past few decades, thousands of people were detained without trial under the ISA not for what they did or said, but based on anonymous and often false accusations from third parties.

“People have been locked up for crimes that were not proven in a court of law and thousands were left to anguish in secret detention cells around the country over an indefinite period of time,” they said.

They also urged the government to hasten the repeal of the Act and not replace it with another which allows for detention without trial.

According to the two groups, sources claim that charges on at least 11 of those arrested are unclear and “is believed to be linked to terrorism”.

“The figures reported are not official, with some sources saying that it could be up to 14 people being arrested,” they said.

'Gun-toting militants'?

The activists said that the individuals were arrested by the Bukit Aman Special Task Force (operations and counter-terrorism) led by DSP Azman Omar.

“Their next of kin was only informed a day after the arrest under Section 73 (1) of the Internal Security Act 1960,” they said.

They added that the arrests were conducted without warrants, with some of them nabbed in front of their wives and children.

GMI and Suaram claim that the arrests were conducted in the fashion of a “heist” by armed police personnel.

“Several laptops and an amount of cash were confiscated,” they said.

Their sources reveal that those arrested include school and tuition teachers, newspaper distributors, a poultry trader and a lorry driver. Two, Mohd Adnan Umar and Mohd Abduh Umar appear to be brothers.

Others arrested, based on GMI and Suaram sources, are Mohd Nazri Dollah, Yusof Saripuddin, Adwan, Faisal Hamma, Joni @ Muadz, Azmi, Suriadi, Darto Bandu and Bakar Baba.

According to the New Straits Times, the detainees are “militants” and are “linked to the Abu Omar group, also known as the Kaltim group, based in Kalimantan”.

They arrest was reportedly made following information that the group was using Tawau as a “transit point for the gathering of weapons from the Philippines” and was recruiting locals for “militant training in neighbouring countries”.

“A source told the New Straits Times that among the 11 detained were Filipinos and Indonesians,” it reported, adding that police are still on the look out for other suspects.

Meanwhile Malay-language daily Berita Harian put the number of detainees at 10.

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