26 January 2015
Inquire into the root causes of extremism and militancy instead of reviving the ISA
Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi’s remarks that the new anti-terrorism bill, to be tabled at the next Parliament session in March, was necessary to curb terrorist activities in the country and that it would have provisions similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA), which can only mean detention without trial.
Reviving the ISA is the second about-face from Prime Minister Najib Razak after he reneged on his repeated promises to abolish the Sedition Act.
While not doubting the serious dangers of extremism and militancy, the solution will not be found in reviving an oppressive and antiquated law akin to the ISA that provide for wide and arbitrary powers to detain suspects indefinitely without recourse to due process and a fair trial.
It is a basic and fundamental right that every imprisonment or detention of a person must be done in accordance to a lawful process of investigation, a charge, a fair trial and a conviction before a court of law. Detention without trial is simply no longer acceptable in this day and age, a grave violation of international law including the right to fair trial and due process.
Instead, we urge the authorities to look into the root causes of extremism and militancy, to candidly inquire into the conditions that allow for such ideologies and indoctrination to flourish, to the extent that an increasing number of our men and women are travelling to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Islamic State and other militant groups.
Further, the government should restructure the Special Branch and other internal security apparatus to target genuine security threats instead of being misused for political ends against legitimate dissent and the opposition.
Instead of providing short cuts, the government should strengthen the police force and provide them with adequate resources, support and training to be a modern first world police force that rely on effective, innovative and modern investigation methods rather than preventive laws which can only lead to abuse of power and injustice.
Lawyers for Liberty
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