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Open letter to Najib and IGP

July 4, 2011

FMT LETTER: From Josie Fernandez, via e-mail

We, the Asian Public Intellectuals Community-Malaysia, urged you to immediately release the Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput, Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj and five members of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) who were re-arrested on July 2, 2011 under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) after their release from a seven-day remand at the Kepala Batas police headquarters, Penang.

The others who were re-arrested are PSM deputy chairperson M Saraswathy, central committee members Choo Chon Kai, M Sukumaran, Sungai Siput branch secretary A Letchumanan and Youth leader Sarat Babu.

The six persons were arrested under sections 3(1) and 4(1) of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 (EPOPCO), which allows police to detain suspects for up to 60 days.

The Royal Police Commission in 2005 recommended ‘that EPOPCO be repealed because it has outlived its purpose and in some instances has facilitated the abuse of some fundamental liberties’ (page 310). The use of this law or any preventive legislation is clearly a violation of human rights.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar was reported to have said the six were found to be involved with foreign and subversive elements.  We are disturbed that these persons who have been working to help the underprivileged in Malaysian society are accused of anti-social activities under a law that allows for detention without warrant or trial.

The six were among 30 persons detained at the Sungai Dua toll plaza on the North-South Expressway while travelling in a chartered tour bus from Kedah to Penang on June 25.

They were remanded for seven days to assist police investigation under Section 122 of the Penal Code for allegedly waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and for attempting to revive the Communist Party.

These are serious charges especially when there is no shred of evidence to support them in the actions and statements of the people involved. We understand that they were held under degrading conditions which are not acceptable especially when Malaysia sits on the UN Human Rights Council.

We urge Yang Amat Berhormat to intervene in this matter and seek your assistance to facilitate the immediate release of the six.

This letter is endorsed by 20 other prominent individuals


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