(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP
calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and the Cabinet to
heed the anniversary hunger strike protest of the six reformasi activists -
Mohamad Ezam Mohamad Nor, Hishamuddin Rais, Chua Tian Chang, Saari Sungib,
Badrulamin Bahron and Lokman Noor Adam - for public trial or release from the
detention-without-trial Internal Security Act (ISA)
instead of committing further human rights violations as imposing
inhumane and illegal punishments as suspending their visitation rights from
families and lawyers.
week, the Kamunting detention centre authorities warned that the six reformasi
activists would not be allowed to meet their families and lawyers in the future,
should they embark on a hunger strike to mark the anniversary of their ISA
arrests. Furthermore, the detainees
would be refused access to television and newspapers for the duration of their
denial of the visitation rights of the detainees from their families and
lawyers, as well as the deprivation of their access to television and
newspapers, for their detention anniversary hunger strike is not only harsh,
inhumane and punitive but also violates the
rules of natural justice and thus illegal.
Rule 71 of the Internal Security (Detained Persons) Rule 1960 reads:
"71. Punishment for minor offences by detained persons.
A Superintendent may punish any detained person found after due enquiry to be guilty of a minor offence as hereinafter specified by ordering him to undergo one or more of the following punishments -
(a) confinement in a punishment cell for a term not exceeding five days on punishment diet;
(b) deprivation for such period as the Superintendent may think fit of any privilege, whether relating to food, books, clothing, luxuries of any description, letters, visitors or any other matter whatever, of which he may be in enjoyment; or
Kamunting detention centre authorities would
be acting not only inhumanely but also
illegally in denying the visitation rights and access to television and
newspapers of the six ISA detainees for their anniversary hunger strike without
a full and proper “due enquiry” as provided by Rule 71 of the Internal
Security (Detained Persons) Rules 1960.
Rule 73(h) of the Internal Security
(Detained Persons) Rules 1960 defines “minor offences” as to include: “(h)
refusing without reasonable excuse to eat the food provided in the place of
detentions”, before any punitive measure
is taken, the detention authorities must give the six ISA detainees the
opportunity to establish that their anniversary hunger strike does not fall
within the definition of “minor offences” as they have not only
“reasonable excuse” but
good and strong grounds for their action supported
not only by the Federal Constitution, Malaysia’s international obligation as a
member of the United Nations but also a
sheaf of international human rights
declarations and covenants.
government’s proper response to the detention anniversary hunger strike of the
six ISA detainees will be a test of its commitment to the rule of law.
This is the last two weeks for the tenure for the first appointments to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) but the least and last thing Suhakam must do is to ensure that the government observes both the spirit and letter of the Internal Security (Detained Persons) Rules 1960 and ensure that there is a full and proper “due enquiry” before the six detainees are punished as having infringed “without reasonable excuse” the Rules by denying them visitation rights from their families and lawyers and other penalties.