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Malaysia
23.07.01
Urgent Interventions

Malaysia: release of one of 2 students detained under the ISA

Case MYS 130701.1
Follow-up of Case MYS 130701

Geneva, July 23rd, 2001

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

New information

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source of the release of one of two students arrested at the beginning of July under the ISA in Malaysia.

According to the information received, 22-year old Mohamad Fuad Mahd Ikhwan, the President of the Student Representative Council of University Malaya, was released from detention on Monday July 16th, 2001, having been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) section 73(1) without charge for 10 days. He was arrested by the authorities on July 6th, while driving his motorcycle, because he represented an alleged threat to state security, having participated in a demonstration to protest against the ISA on June 8th. He was being held incommunicado at an unknown location until his release. He reportedly claimed to be “fine” after his release, although no details concerning the conditions of his detention have yet become available.

The ISA has been frequently used since its enactment in 1960 by the Malaysian authorities, in order to arrest and effectively indefinitely detain human rights and oppostition campaigners. The ISA reportedly allows the authorities to arbitrarily arrest, detain incommunicado and interrogate activists, without granting them access to legal counsel or family visits for up 60 days, and without conducting a trial for a period of up to two years. This period is however renewable by the Prime Minister, meaning that the person can effectively be detained indefinitely without a trial.

OMCT welcomes Mohamad Fuad Mohd Ikhwan’s release, but is still gravely concerned for the other student detained for the same reasons on July 5th - 24-year old Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zainuddin, a Kemahiran Mara Skills Institute student leader - who is still being detained incommunicado under the ISA and whose whereabouts are not known. OMCT is also gravely concerned about all the other persons being detained under the ISA, and urges the Malaysian authorites to reconsider the ISA as a whole, as suggested by Shah Alam, High Court Judge and Justice Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, during recent rulings, which lead to several ISA detainees being released (see Urgent Appeal Case MYS 110401.2 on June 1st, 2001).

Brief reminder of the situation

OMCT has been informed by a reliable source of the arrest of two students, 24-year old Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zainuddin and 22-year old Mohamad Fuad Mahd Ikhwan, by the Malaysian authorities under the Internal Security Act section 73(1), on July 5th and July 6th respectively.

According to the information received, Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zainuddin, a Kemahiran Mara Skills Institute student leader, had participated in a demonstration on June 8th, to protest against ISA in front of the National Mosque. Seven students were arrested during the gathering and were severely beaten by the police during their detention, before being released on bail on June 9th, but were told to report back to renew their bail on July 5th. Mr. Zainuddin was accompanying six of these students in order to offer them his support when he was arrested, having reportedly been involved in coordinating the student support movement on June 8th. He is being detained incommunicado by the police, for an initial two months under the ISA, and his whereabouts are not known.

Both students were being held because they allegedly represent a threat to state security, and are being denied their rights to legal representation and access to their family, and there is a risk that they may be subjected to psychological and physical torture during their detention. It is feared that more students may be arrested under the ISA as the police have recently conducted raids on student residences in Bangi and Kelana Jaya.

Action requested :

Please write to the authorities in Malaysia urging them to:

i. take all necessary measures to guarantee Khairul Anwar Ahmad Zainuddin’s physical and psychological integrity;
ii. secure that Mr. Zainuddin be allowed to meet with his relatives and lawyers;
iii. order his immediate release in the absence of valid legal charges or, if such charges exist, bring him before an impartial and competent tribunal and guarantee his procedural rights at all times;
iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses:

Ybhg Tan Sri Musa Hitam, Chairperson Malaysian Human Rights Commission, C/o Kementerian Luar Negeri, Wisma Putra, 50602 Kuala Lumpur. Fax : 603-2425043 / Email: humanrights@humanrights.com.my

Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Home Minister, Jalan Dato Onn, 50502 Kuala Lumpur. Fax-603-2301051

Tan Sri Norian Mai, Inspector General of Police, Ibupejabat Polis Diraja Malaysia, Bukit Aman, 50560 Kuala Lumpur. Fax: 603-22731326

Please also write to the embassies of Malaysia in your respective country.

Geneva, July 23rd, 2001

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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