By: Jessica Ties
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia –The Malaysian government is detaining six members of the opposition political party, Parti Sosialis Malaysia which is legally recognized in Malaysia, without charge under Malaysia’s preventative detention laws.
The six Parti Sosialis Malaysia members were pre-arrested and continue to be held under the Emergency Ordinance after allegations were made that they were the “main movers” of the pro-democracy rally that took place on July 9. The rally was organized by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, Bersih, to express a need and desire to reform voting laws and mend corruption in voting.
According to lawyers for the detained six members, the detainees have been held in solitary confinement and continually and aggressively interrogated. The detainees have also been blindfolded while in detention and also while in transportation to meet with their lawyers. In addition, the police have not yet made it clear whether the detainees will be permitted to attend the Habeas corpus hearing that was originally scheduled for July 22 but has been rescheduled for August 5.
Initially, the six opposition party members were charged under Section 122 of the Penal Code after being accused of preparing to wage war against the king. This allegation was based on shirts owned by the six members that had portraits of former Communist Leaders on them.
Although the six members were released on bail on July 2, they were then re-arrested under the Emergency Ordinance.
Malaysia’s Emergency Ordinance permits the police to detain, at their own discretion, any person that they find to be a threat to public order for 60 days. Under the Emergency Ordinance, the home minister is permitted to extend the detention every two years for an additional two years.
Since the six members were detained, over 520 police reports have been filed calling for the release of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia members and the number of police reports being filed is expected to increase. Other forms of protests include candlelight vigils and the circulation of petitions calling for the release of the “PSM6”.
Family members have also filed reports to allege mistreatment of the detainees. Such allegations arise from failure to provide medical attention to those complaining of pain, refusal to provide the food necessary for certain medical conditions and forced lie detector tests.
The six Parti sosialis Malaysia members being detained are: Michaeal Jeyakumar Devaraj, member of parliament; Sukumaran Munisamy, Central Committee member; Letchumanan Aseer Patham, Sungai Siput branch secretary; Choo Chon Kai, international coordinator; Sarasvathy Muthu, national deputy chairwoman; and Sarat Babu Raman, youth chairman.
For more information, please see:
Voices of America –Rights Group Demands Release of Malaysian Rally Oganizers – July 21, 2011
The Malaysia Star – Counsel: PSM 6 Not Detained Over Red Links – July 21, 2011
Free Malaysia Today – 522 Police Reports and Counting – July 20, 2011
Human Rights Watch – Drop Charges against Activists Exercising Basic Rights – 20 July 2011
Free Malaysia Today – ‘PSM 6 Will be Freed if Detention is Political’ – 18 July 2011