KUALA LUMPUR: Four NGOs -Suaram, Bar Council, Loyar Burok, Lawyers for Liberty- would be filing a judicial review to challenge the detention of three youths under the Emergency Ordinance.

Muhamad Arif Abu Samah, 20, was placed under EO in Mersing this month.Two brothers – Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed Ali, 22, and Mohamad Rafe, 20, were placed under EO in Chemor, Pahang and Kulim, Kedah respectively.

All three are suspects involved in alleged motorcycle thefts in the district of Gombak.They were detained on March 8. The trio also have been relocated under the same act.

Their EO orders were signed by Deputy Home Minister Abu Seman Yusop on May 16.

The Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) 1969, a form of detention without trial as provided for under the Internal Security Act, had been used to detain youths for alleged involvement in gang fights.

The use of the declaration has apparently now expanded to include alleged motorcycle theft, an offence that is also punishable under the Penal Code.

“The filing of a judicial review could be the first of its kind because it challenges the jurisdiction of the Agong to repeal all Emergency proclamations,” said Loyar Burok co-founder Edmund Bon at a press conference held in Bangsar this morning.

He said that the review seeks to compel the cabinet to advise the Agong to repeal all emergency declarations and related laws.

However this would not have been the case if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has responded in favour of the lawyers who had written to him by the 6 June.

Solicitors for the three had written two letters both addressed to Najib dated May 13 and May 26 this year, respectively, to lift the declared emergency proclamation and free their clients.

They urged Najib and the cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the proclamation and also the EO within five days of receiving the letter, failing which it would be deemed a refusal to its application.

Another letter was sent on May 26 urging the prime minister to repeal the proclamations.

“There would not be application for judicial review if the Prime Minister had listened to our request,” said Edmund Bon.

The present trend

Bon and the rest of the representatives are optimistic that the Najib administration would accede to their request because Malaysia is currently seeking a re-election into the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Apart from Bon, the press conference was also atttended by Andrew Khoo represented Bar Council’s human rights committee, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri of Lawyers for Liberty and the parents of the detainees along with lawyer Andrew Yong and Suaram by its coordinator E .Nalini.

Fadiah revealed that from her conversations with her client, Arif, the police had known the actual suspects who had paid the police off.

Khoo said that 5,000 people have been affected by the emergency laws based the findings of a UN report .

“By our count there are 1,500 people detained annually in Simpang Renggam. So on average, since 1969 and 42 years after that, thousands have had the EO implemented on them.

“The trend now is to detain youths for various allegations which cannot be substantiated like in the two cases,”said Bon.

“This is why we have sent letters to the PM asking to repeal the EO as this is a law similar to the ISA. If this is not done, we will use the three’s plight as a test case to secure their release,” he said.

K Pragalath | May 31, 2011, Free Malaysia Today