In blow to Sosma, High Court allows DAP rep detained over LTTE links to seek bail

From the Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Lawyers acting for G. Saminathan convinced the High Court today that the DAP assemblyman was entitled to bail despite the invocation of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act for his detention, according to Bernama.

G. Saminathan was among 12 people including Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran who were detained using the Sosma and charged over alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Pic from the Reuters

Provisions of the security law that allows detention without trial prohibit bail.

Saminathan was among 12 people including Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran who were detained using the Sosma and charged over alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

The Malaysiakini news portal reported judge Mohd Nazlan Ghazali as finding that the Sosma provision that barred the courts from considering bail to be unconstitutional as it effectively allowed the executive to override the judiciary, violating the separation of powers among the different branches of government.

The landmark decision will also benefit the others still detained using the preventive detention law despite already being charged with supporting or possessing material related to the defunct Sri Lankan terrorist group.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who represented the DAP lawmaker, previously argued that the provision denying Sosma detainees bail was an overreach of the constitutional article that allowed the passage of security laws that may infringe on some civil liberties.

Among others, he said this effectively usurped the role of the judiciary as well as its lawful discretion in such matters.

On November 1, the Sessions Court decided that there was merit in the application filed by Saminathan and 11 others to challenge their prevention of bail under the Sosma and referred the matter to the High Court.

Aside from Saminathan and Gunasekaran, the others detained are V. Balamurugan; S. Teran; A. Kalaimughilan; S. Chandru; S. Arivainthan; S. Thanagaraj; M. Pumugan; R. Sundram; V. Suresh Kumar and B. Subramaniam.

They were variously arrested in October and charged at the end of the month with offences related to the LTTE.

The Sosma was among security laws the Pakatan Harapan coalition had suggested it would repeal while campaigning in the 14th general election but which it has since said would simply be reviewed now that it is in power.

Special committee set up to study security laws

Source: Borneo Post

KUALA LUMPUR: The Home Ministry has set up a special committee to review existing laws, especially those in relation to national security which are allegedly contrary to human rights, its Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

Muhyiddin said the committee, which was set up last week, is chaired by the ministry’s Secretary-General Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim.

“We will look at and review the laws that come under the Home Ministry. Among those raised are the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA), the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (POTA) and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (POCA).

“Our goal is to determine in implementing domestic laws the people do not feel that they are being used  for political purposes, to punish certain parties due to differences in ideology and so on,” he said. Read more

Muhyiddin: Home ministry to review seven ‘unsuitable’ national security laws

Source: The Malay Mail

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin speaks at the Department of Home Affairs in Putrajaya May 22, 2018. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, May 22 — The Home Ministry will review seven laws relating to national security which are no longer suitable in today’s landscape, said the new Home Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said these laws were the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sedition Act 1948, Peaceful Assembly Act 2012,  Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota), and mandatory death sentence.

Muhyiddin said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), non-governmental organisations and social activists would be asked to give their views on these laws.

“These laws will be reviewed and, if necessary, replaced. It will need a bit of time, but not up to five years until the next general election,” he told reporters when asked for the time needed to complete the review.

Muhyiddin was speaking at his first press conference as the new Home Minister after attending a briefing given by heads of departments and agencies under the ministry. — Bernama

No signs of abuse, but cops accused of negligence in Thanabalan’s death

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Thanabalan Subramaniam, 38, was arrested late last month outside a school in Kapar, died in custody 20 days later. His family was told that he died of a heart attack. Image from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The post-mortem on Thanabalan Subramaniam, who died in police custody, could not confirm the cause of death but there were no signs that he was subject to any physical abuse, says incumbent Kapar MP G Manivannan.

Speaking to FMT, Manivannan said tissue and blood samples had been taken for further analysis to determine the cause of death.

Yesterday, Selangor police said they suspected that the centralised lock-up where the 38-year-old Thanabalan was being held had been contaminated by an infection.

“However, I believe there is an element of medical negligence on the part of the police as they should have ensured that Thanabalan received medical attention quickly,” Manivannan said.

Thanabalan, who was allegedly detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, died at Hospital Shah Alam on Tuesday after being rushed there from the Shah Alam police headquarters where he had been held for some 20 days.

His death led to questions by civil society groups on the police’s commitment to putting an end to custodial deaths. Read more

Police want ‘screening’ at lock-up, hospital after custodial death

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Police have requested a “screening” at Hospital Shah Alam and the Shah Alam police headquarters following the death of driving instructor Thanabalan Subramaniam in police custody last night.

Selangor Criminal Investigation Department chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat said the screening would be conducted by the hospital as police suspected the centralised lock-up was contaminated by an infection.

He did not reject the possibility of Thanabalan, who was allegedly detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act or Sosma, having fallen victim to the infection.

“However, the cause of the death will be determined by an autopsy, which will be done today,” he said when contacted by FMT. Read more

Man allegedly nabbed under Sosma dies in police custody

Thanabalan Subramaniam, 38, was arrested late last month outside a school in Kapar, died in custody 20 days later. His family was told that he died of a heart attack. Image from FMT News.

SHAH ALAM: A 38-year-old man from Kapar who was arrested by the police 20 days ago has died in custody.

According to family members, driving instructor Thanabalan Subramaniam was arrested in front of SJK (C) Soo Jin on March 29, while sending one of his children to school.

Last night, his family received a phone call from the police informing them that Thanabalan had passed away after a heart attack.

Speaking to FMT at the Shah Alam Hospital, family members claimed police told them that Thanabalan was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma.

“We could not see him after he was arrested, supposedly because he was detained under Sosma,” said one family member. Read more

Suaram says fewer sedition cases recorded in 2017

Source: Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The use of the Sedition Act 1948 to curb freedom of expression took a backseat this year, with related offences largely falling under the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA), a Suaram report found.

The 55-page Suaram human rights report overview, which was launched today, said there were nine known documented cases under the Sedition Act, while the CMA had 146.

“While the overall reduction in arrest, detention and prosecution under the Sedition Act is a welcome improvement, the documented cases in 2017 suggests that the Act still stands as one of the more noteworthy laws in restricting freedom of expression, despite the existence of other more well-used legal provisions,” the report said. Read more

Maria: End of year-old case over Bersih shows Sosma detention was baseless

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Bersih 2.0’s Maria Chin Abdullah claimed the police’s decision to close a year-old case against the polls reform group showed that her detention without trial was baseless.

Maria, who chairs Bersih 2.0, said police also decided to return all items seized from Bersih 2.0, at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters today.

“Bukit Aman police has informed me that all investigations towards Bersih 2.0 and me have been closed.

“More interestingly, I was made to understand by the police that the return of the seized items are on the orders of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“Therefore it is proven that my detention under Sosma was without basis at all, and was merely a move to intimidate me, my family and Malaysians who love peace, democracy and justice,” she said in a statement today, referring to the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act. Read more

Why treat children like hardcore criminals, asks lawyer

Source: FMT News

There must be a better way for the authorities to handle children who commit criminal offences, says Paulsen. Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen has asked why the home ministry is treating children like hardcore criminals by detaining them under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

He explained that these two laws are too harsh for children and are supposed to be used against serious offenders like terrorists or hardcore criminals.

“This is shocking. Surely there must be a better way for the authorities to handle these children who commit criminal offences. You can charge them under ordinary laws.

“Poca has detention without trial, which means somebody can be locked up for two years and another two years without evidence. It is similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“As for Sosma, even though there is a trial, pending the trial, the child is not able to get bail. This can go on for many years,” he told FMT. Read more

Release all minors detained without trial immediately ― Suaram

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOVEMBER 7 ― Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is shocked by the revelation in Parliament that 142 minors were detained without trial under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) and 17 minors under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma). Suaram strongly condemns the existence and application of laws that permit detention without trial and demand for the immediate release of all minors detained under Sosma and Poca.

Reflecting on the gruesome allegations of torture and abuse suffered by detainees under Sosma and Poca; and the systematic use of solitary confinement for detainees under Sosma, Suaram is shocked that the Malaysian government consider it necessary for minors to be subjected to detention in these conditions under Sosma and Poca.

The government must provide an immediate answer to the public with regards to the condition of detention these minors are subjected to and provide clear answers as to why it was necessary for these minors to be detained under security provisions and not subjected to trial in the Court for Children outlined in Section 83(1) of the Child Act 2001. Read more