Wednesday 22 June 2011

Youths challenge detention under EO for motorcycle theft

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Three youths sued the government at the Shah Alam High Court today for unlawfully detaining them under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) 1969 for allegedly stealing motorcycles.
Their lawyer Edmund Bon said the youths are also asking the court to compel Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the 1969 Emergency Proclamation and the EO.

The Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism & Human Rights campaigner pointed out that Umno Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said in March that the 1969 Proclamation should not be revoked as it would be difficult to control public order when laws made under the Proclamation are abolished.

“The Cabinet, by Nazri’s answer, says the Emergency is necessary because it’s inconvenient for us to repeal other laws,” said Bon.

“We’re saying you have abused your powers by not advising the King,” added the human rights lawyer.
He also noted that the authorities did not follow procedure when they issued restriction orders under the EO against Muhammad Arif Abu Samah and brothers Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed Ali and Mohamad Rafe Mohamed Ali.

Arif, Ramadan and Rafe, aged 19, 22 and 20 years respectively, are now banished and their residence is restricted to Johor, Pahang and Kedah for two years from May 16.

“When they were arrested (on March 8), they were not brought before a magistrate within 24 hours,” said Bon.

He added that the youths were not given any reason for their detention under the EO on March 18 nor were they informed of their right to legal representation.

Bon recently said the authorities should charge the youths in court for allegedly stealing motorbikes in Gombak, instead of detaining them under the EO that was enacted after the 1969 race riots.

There are between 5,000 and 6,000 detainees held under the EO, according to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Human Rights Council who visited Malaysia last June.

Apart from the EO, Malaysia also uses the Internal Security Act 1960 to detain people without trial. The security was first used against communists but later widened to detain politicians, counterfeiters, militants, religious extremists and even a nuclear parts salesman.

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