PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) representative Latheefa Koya has confirmed that the 10 men from the nine families who lodged missing persons reports yesterday are currently being held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
Latheefa said 30 families attended a special briefing today, in which they were told that their loved ones were being held under Sosma.
This included the nine families who lodged reports yesterday.
“This is an abuse of Sosma, which is meant to deal with terrorism and not ordinary crimes like gangsterism,” Latheefa said.She said basic information should have been provided to the families concerned when the arrests were made or when the nine families had made the inquiry yesterday at IPD Klang Selatan.
“Instead, they were forced to lodge missing persons reports.”
Latheefa said during the police briefing earlier, the families were told not to engage lawyers to represent their relatives.
She said this was unacceptable behaviour by the police, who should be facilitating access to legal advisers instead of discouraging it.
“This is an attempt to interfere with the right to counsel enshrined in the constitution,” she said.
Yesterday, nine families lodged missing persons and unlawful arrest reports with the police, seeking answers on the fate of their family members who they claimed had been arrested recently.
The families had contacted LFL, claiming that their family members were arrested by the police and that they had received no news as to why the men were arrested and where they were being held.
The police at IPD Klang Selatan were unable to confirm the arrests, saying it may have been a Bukit Aman operation.
According to M Neela, the mother of missing siblings S Arikrishnan and S Tamilmani, five police officers came to their house at 1am on July 16, and arrested Tamilmani without giving a reason for the arrest.
“On the same day at 4pm, another five police officers came to the house asking my son to follow them and that it was regarding his motorcycle that was reported missing.
“But he was not brought back as well,” she said.
Latheefa said it was the families’ basic right to know why their family members were arrested and where they were being held.
“If they don’t know that, it is as good as being kidnapped and detained in secret.
“There is no law here that allows secret arrests,” she said.