They no longer posed a threat to national security, says Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.


SUNGAI BULOH: Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today announced the immediate release of 12 individuals who were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

He said today’s number did not include the three people who were released earlier at the start of the Ramadan month, according to a Bernama report.

The government was satisfied that all those released no longer posed a threat to national security, he told reporters after attending a security briefing at the Sungai Buloh prison, here today.

In May and June, the detainees including two Malaysians participated in hunger strikes to protest the lack of news over their release after the ISA was scrapped in April.

The ISA was replaced with the Security Offence Act.

Yet when tabling the Bill, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that the current detainees would not be affected.

“Let it be known that even though this Bill repeals the ISA 1960, the Bill will not affect the detention of persons currently under detention, unless their detention orders are revoked by the Home Minister,” he had said.

But later that month, Hishammuddin said he would personally look through the individual cases to determine their fate.

Meanwhile, one of the lawyers representing the detainees, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, told FMT that it was the people’s voice that set these detainees free.

“When we started, there were 45 detainees, and that was when the demonstrations and hunger strikes started, and the revelation of torture came out. So all these people have contributed to the release,” she said.

“Today’s news also confirms that the home minister has the power to release the detainees at any time. So why didn’t he do it before? It raises questions on the necessity of having these people arrested in the first place, as well, and hints of abuse of power.”

“Even though the 12 were released, this is not the end. We are renewing our campaign until all the detainees are released and Kamunting is finally shut down.”

By Anisah Shukry| August 17, 2012