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Suhakam visits Bersih chief, reiterates stand on detention

 | November 23, 2016

The Human Rights Commission believes Maria Chin Abdullah, is unjustifiably incarcerated.


KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) believes that Bersih 2.0 chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah, has been unjustifiably incarcerated.

Maria is being held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) that provides for detention without trial, for a prolonged period of up to 28 days. There is no judicial oversight.

Suhakam reiterated, in accordance with Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that no one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Suhakam said this when disclosing in a statement, that it met Maria at short notice. “The police were polite,” it said. “They did not prevent a free flow of discussion even though they were present at all times.”

The Commission’s delegation was led by chairman Razali Ismail.

Maria, who was not informed of Suhakam’s 90-minute visit, appeared to be in good health, according to the statement.

“We were assured there was a medical doctor available at all times,” said Suhakam.

The delegation was taken by the police to an unequipped gymnasium and were also allowed to inspect Maria’s cell.

“The state of cleanliness in Maria’s cell can be considered as acceptable,” said Suhakam. “However, there’s no escaping that it’s solitary confinement.”

The so-called bed has no mattress, added the statement. “She has to wash with cold water.”

Apparently, Maria told the delegation she would like a mattress, at the very least, given the discomfort of the wooden bed.

She also requested for a copy of the Quran and reading materials and wants to be able to see her children and family.

Suhakam has forwarded her requests to the police.

According to the notes on the Suhakam visit, police had interrogated Maria for three hours. The Bersih chief termed it as soft interrogations and said she was certain there was more to come.


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