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‘Let us face justice in our own countries’

 | June 1, 2012

Twenty-five foreigners detained in Kamunting under the ISA want to be tried in their respective native countries for their alleged crimes

TAIPING: The twenty-five foreigners detained in Kamunting under the Internal Security (ISA) want to be tried in their respective native countries for their alleged crimes in Malaysia.

Of the 25, seven are from Sri Lanka, six (Indonesia), four (Pakistan), three (Philippines), two each from India and Iraq and one from Bangladesh.

Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam said: “The 25 detainees want to be deported and charged for the alleged offences in their respective countries.

“Thus far, officials from the embassies of Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan have visited the detainees in support of their desire to be tried in their respective countries.”

This morning, Nayagam, Suhakam’s assistant secretary Elza Nadiah, and Coalition to Abolish Modern-Day Slavery in Asia rep, Daniel Lo, met all 45 detainees at the Kamunting camp.

This is the second visit by Nayagam to brief the detainees on the progress made by Suhakam in getting the Home Ministry to file charges against them in court or set them free.

He first visited the camp on May 18 when seven detainees staged a hunger strike, alleging that they were poorly treated, isolated and put in rooms without fans or beds.

He persuaded them to call off the strike and promised to help look into their complaints.

Nayagam said that he subsequently prepared a report on all the 45 detainees and submitted it to Suhakam for further action.

He added Suhakam will contact the new secretary general of the Home Ministry to request that the 25 foreigners be deported and allowed to face justice in their own countries.

As for the 20 local detainees, Nayagam said he will also request the ministry to either charge them in court or set them free.

Of the 45, 12 are set to be released this year, 22 in 2013 and the remaining in 2014.

When asked about the allegations of poor treatment by the seven, Nayagam clarified that they were shifted from the camp’s old block to the new one which did not have fans and beds.

“What’s important here is to look into the possibility of freeing them or having them charged in court. We can ask interested parties to sponsor the fans and beds (which is secondary)

“Suhakam has been asking the government for the past 10 years to close the camp as we are totally against it,” added Nayagam.

All those in Kamunting were detained for several various offences like human trafficking, falsification of documents and religious extremism.


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