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MALAYSIA – Blatant abuse of power by police under the Dangerous Drug Act

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This statement was issued by SUARAM, FORUM-ASIA member in Malaysia recently. to condemn the blatant abuse of power by police in the case of arrest and detention of an actor under the Dangerous Drug Act (1985), which allows for detention without trial.

 

SUARAM¬†condemns and expresses its grave¬†concerns over the arrest of actor Khaeryll Benjamin Ibrahim @Benjy under¬†Section 3 of the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures) 1985¬†(DDA), which provides for detention without trial up to 60 days, just¬†minutes after he was released by the Magistrate’s Court. No grounds were¬†given as why he was arrested under section 3.

Benjy was freed¬†yesterday (25 March 2010) on a RM2,000 bail with one surety but he was¬†re-arrested by a group of 10 plainclothes personnel at 2.50pm,¬†immediately after his mother, actress Azean Irdawaty, posted bail. None¬†of the arresting policemen informed his mother the reasons of Benjy’s¬†re-arrest and instead referred her to their superior officer for more¬†information. Even the lawyers representing Benjy was not allowed by the¬†police to assist Benjy.

Abuse of power and contempt of court

The re-arrest of detainees after being freed by the court is an outright abuse of the system by the police and the government. The use of the DDA or any other preventive detention laws leave those arrested with almost no recourse against wrongful arrest and detention. Worst still, the detainee will most likely face traumatic experiences in the first 60 days of detention under the DDA. SUARAM has documented numerous allegations of flawed police investigations and acts of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment by the police to obtain confession under duress from the DDA detainees.

The use of the DDA,¬†particularly in instances where individuals have already been freed by¬†the court such as the latest case of Benjy, is a blatant abuse of power¬†by the police. Not only has the police disregarded the Magistrate Court¬†‘s decision to release him on bail by detaining him without trial for 60¬†days, the DDA further confers powers to the Home Minister to sign¬†two-year detention orders which can be renewed indefinitely at the end¬†of the initial 60-day detention. The Home Minister’s decision cannot be¬†challenged in court.

No justification for DDA (the other ISA )!

SUARAM recognizes the responsibility of the Malaysian government to curb crimes and to deal with drugs dealers, drug addicts, criminals, gangs and syndicates. Notwithstanding this, there is no justification for the government to resort to the use laws such as the DDA which violate human rights.

In societies governed by the rule of law, any person suspected of committing a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law which complies with international fair trial standards. The use of the DDA, however, is clearly in contravention of this universal principle. As such, like the ISA , the DDA has no place in any civilized society!

SUARAM stresses that the arbitrary detention of any individual without trial is a gross violation of fundamental human rights which clearly contravenes Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution.

Release Benjy and all other DDA detainees! Abolish the DDA! SUARAM therefore demands the police to release Benjy immediately and unconditionally.

SUARAM further strongly calls on the government to abolish the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act (DDA) and other detention-without- trial laws. Those held under these laws must be charged in court or released unconditionally.