Press Release: Lawyers for Liberty is astonished and appalled by SUHAKAM commissioner Detta Samen claiming that ex-RMAF airman N.Tharmendran has been treated well in detention by the Air Force (Suhakam visits ex-airman, says he is well-treated, Bernama, 1.12.10). What did this SUHAKAM commissioner expect Tharmendran to say, considering that he is currently in the custody and at the mercy of the Air Force?
Whilst SUHAKAM now leaps to the defence of the RMAF, it has taken no note of the terrible torture suffered by Tharmendran and many other Air Force personnel during the investigations into the loss of two fighter jet engines. Neither has SUHAKAM shown any interest in investigating Tharmendran’s complaint that he is now being unlawfully held by the air force in breach of his fundamental rights. The high-handed manner of his arrest outside the Shah Alam High Court on 25.11.2010 has also evoked no response from SUHAKAM.
Why is SUHAKAM so eager to exonerate the Air Force in this instance, whereas they appear unconcerned by the numerous human rights breaches committed by the Air Force? SUHAKAM’s conduct in this case shows that they are more interested in whitewashing the misconduct of the authorities, than in defending victims of human rights violations.
It is beyond dispute that the fight against human rights abuses in this country has been vigorously pursued by NGOs, civil society and the political opposition. SUHAKAM, although statutorily established and managed, has over the years shown itself to be ineffective, purposeless, timid, compliant and compromising. SUHAKAM, which is paid for by Malaysian tax-payers, has abdicated its duties and betrayed the public trust. The very existence of SUHAKAM has become a convenient fig-leaf for the authorities to pretend that human rights is prioritised and protected in this country.
We call for this charade to be ended, and for SUHAKAM to be dissolved and disbanded immediately. They are of no assistance to the Malaysian public.
LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY