Malaysia:Three ISA detainees freed

Posted by Susan Loone and AFP under Breaking News on 2 June 2003

The 3 set free includes Chua Tian Chang, vice president of Keadilan. But Keadilan's president of youth Movement, Ezam Mohd Nor,remains in prison.

ISA 6: Three out, two remain, one continues time in Kajang

Three ISA detainees and supporters of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who were held under a tough security law were freed tonight when their two-year detention orders expired.

A fourth detainee was also technically released but remains in prison o要 separate charges.

"Camp authorities have freed three of the detainees tonight," Cynthia Gabriel, executive director with rights group Voice of the Malaysian People (Suaram) told AFP.

"We are happy with the action of the government," she added.

The three freed detainees are: Tian Chua, Keadilan vice president, Saari Sungib and Hishamudin Rais, malaysiakini columnist-cum-film maker. They were first detained in April, 2001.

However, malaysiakini understands that Saari is the o要ly o要e physically out in the street tonight. Tian Chua and Hishamudin were sent to Taiping Prison where they are expected to be held until bail could be posted o要 the unlawful assembly charges against them

The Internal Security Act (ISA), under which six Anwar supporters are being held, allows detention without trial and the standard two-year detention orders can be renewed indefinitely.

Gabriel added that Ezam Mohd Noor, Keadilan Youth leader, has also been "technically" released from the ISA but he had to complete jail time for another offence.

Expiring o要 June 12

Ezam was last year moved to Kajang prison to serve a two-year jail term for a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Gabriel said they do not know the outcome of two other detainees - Lokman Adam and Badrulamin Bahrom whose detention expires o要 June 12.

Keadilan supreme council member Gooi Hock Guan who spoke to malaysiakini soon after news of the release was known called o要 the home minister to free Lokman and Badrulamin immediately "as there was no reason to hold them a minute longer".

"It is now very clear that all the six were detained for political reasons and they have suffered enough under the "political persecution" of the BN government," he said.

Gooi repeated Keadilan's call for the ISA to be repealed as it is a totally "unjust, uncivilised and inhumane" piece of legislation which should have been chucked down the gutters a long time ago.

Meanwhile, PRM leader R Sivarasa said tonight that to continue holding Lokman and Badrulamin is "petty and vindictive" as ISA detainees could be released anytime within the period of the detention order.

As the two were detained for the same reason as the four who were released (under the ISA) today, they should also be freed, he reasoned.

Learn a lesson

According to AFP, a senior government official said the duo would also be released when their term expires.

"I hope the detainees have learned a lesson. We hope they would abide by the laws of the country. We do not want people to abuse their freedom and democracy," he told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"When we detain people, we detain them for a reason. We now think they are no longer a threat to national security," he added.

Malaysia has come under mounting international pressure to charge or release the opposition detainees, with 46 members of Denmark's parliament issuing the latest in a series of petitions to the government.

They joined parliamentarians from Britain, Japan and the Netherlands and a group of 40 Islamic scholars who have already pressed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the six men.

Critics accuse the government of using the ISA to stifle political opposition.

Anwar, o要ce heir apparent to Mahathir, says he was framed to prevent a political challenge to the premier, an allegation the government denies.

He began serving a nine-year jail term for sodomy in April after completing four years in prison o要 a corruption charge.


Jun 1st, 2003 Malaysiakini ISA 6: Three out, two remain, one continues time in Kajang

Brunei online Pressure mounts on Malaysia to release Anwar supporters


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