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ISA detainees on hunger strike

 | May 14, 2012

Suaram claims that the detainess are determined to continue with their strike until the government sets them free.

PETALING JAYA: Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees have gone on a hunger strike demanding their immediate release.

In a statement today, rights group Suaram said it was informed by the detainees’ families that some of them had been on a hunger strike for the past four days, with more detainees joining in.

“The detainees do not understand why they are still being detained at the Kamunting detention camp when the ISA has already been repealed. If the government has no evidence against them, they should release them.

“According to the families, the detainees demanded for their immediate and unconditional release or else they will continue with the hunger strike until the government releases them.”

Kamunting detention centre officials were not available for comment.

Suaram’s executive director E Nalini told FMT that the number of detainees going on hunger strike was increasing.

“Some started last week. We are getting reports that some even started yesterday. So the numbers are increasing,” she said.

The draconian law which had been in place since Independence was laid to rest last month when the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat. The new Bill still had to be passed by the Dewan Negara and approved by the king before it comes into effect.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had said that the new Bill would not affect current detainees. Their fate, added the premier, would be determined by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Hishammuddin said that he would personally look through each case to determine if a detainee should be charged in court.

“… [it is] very important to relook at those who are presently being detained to see whether it is possible for us to release them as quickly as possible,” he had said on April 17.

Since then, there had been no updates on the matter.

Suaram urged both Hishammuddin and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to make an immediate visit to Kamunting to determine the condition of those on hunger strike.

Besides demanding for the detainees to be tried in court, Suaram also urged the public to write letters voicing their concern for these detainees.

The letters ahould be addressed to Najib, Hishammuddin, Suhakam chairman Hasmy Agam and United Nations officials Navanethem Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), El Hadji Malick Sow (chair of UN group on arbitrary detention) and Christine Chung (UN commissioner for the Asia Pacific region).


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