Lawyers for Liberty is shocked and outraged at Malaysia’s involvement in a CIA extraordinary rendition process that was recently revealed in Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition, a report by Open Society Justice Initiative.

Extraordinary rendition is the transfer without legal process of a detainee, often “suspected terrorists” to the custody of a foreign government where they are detained in “black sites” for the purposes of CIA detention and interrogation where they will be subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” – a euphemism for torture and other cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment.

The report detailed the 2004 rendition of Libyan nationals Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq (Abdul Hakim Belhadj) and his wife, Fatima Bouchar who was pregnant at the time. They were arrested by Malaysian authorities in Kuala Lumpur and detained for 13 days under bad conditions and the wife was further denied medical attention. Both were later “transferred” to Thailand where they were tortured and finally sent to Libya where Abu was detained until 2010 while his wife was released shortly after she had given birth.

Documents discovered in Tripoli in September 2011 showed cooperation between the CIA and the Malaysian government in effecting Abu’s transfer. A memorandum dated 4 March 2004, from the CIA to the Libyan government states “[w]e are working energetically with the Malaysian government to effect the extradition of Abdullah al-Sadiq from Malaysia. The Malaysians have promised to cooperate and arrange for Sadiq’s transfer to our custody.”

This treatment by the Malaysian government against the couple is shockingly hypocritical and shameful to say the least, as Malaysia has been a severe critic of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” that had inflamed relationship between the “US-West” and the “Muslim world” – and here we have the Malaysian government actively collaborating with the US in persecuting “suspected terrorists”.

What is further outrageous and a greater cause for concern is that the Malaysian authorities had arbitrarily and secretly detained two foreign nationals who seemingly have not committed any criminal offence in the country that warranted such an overreaction from the Malaysian authorities. The arrest and detention seemed to have been done without any legal basis, due process and had operated outside the realm of the Malaysian Constitution and other legal safeguards including access to legal counsel or hearing by a Magistrate during remand. Instead, the arrest was seemingly done at the direction of the CIA or other foreign authorities.

We call on the Malaysian government to explain the extraordinary rendition of this particular case and to disclose of any other collaboration between the Malaysian authorities and the CIA or other foreign authorities where individuals have been detained, interrogated, tortured and transferred around the world at the behest of foreign governments.

We further call on the Malaysian government to refuse to participate in any other extraordinary renditions and to ensure that the rule of law is strictly observed – that any arrest, detention or deportation (of foreigners) is done transparently and properly in accordance to Malaysian and international law and legal processes.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Co-founder & Adviser
Lawyers for Liberty
9 February 2013