Urgent Action

Malaysia: Student Detained For Having ‘Banned’ Books

Enter your details

Prepare your message. Read and modify the sample letter.

Siti Noor Aishah, a 29 year old research student at University Malaya, is being held in ‘preventive detention’ in Kajang Prison. She was arrested on March 27th 2017 for her alleged possession of 12 books signifying her alleged support for terrorist groups or the commission of terrorist acts. No bail was offered and she is currently detained without charge.

Amnesty International is concerned with the Malaysian government’s continued use of preventive detention laws, which allow the authorities to arbitrarily arrest and detain individuals incommunicado- raising fears they could be at risk of torture or other ill treatment- and denying their access to the courts for up to 28 days.

Please contact the authorities immediately, urging them to:

  • 1
    Immediately and unconditionally release Siti Noor Aishah;
  • 2
    Ensure that Siti Noor Aishah is not tortured or ill-treated, and is granted access to her family, lawyer and any medical care she requires;
  • 3
    Review and amend the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act and all laws that allow for prolonged detention without charge, and undermine fair trial rights.

+ Background

Siti Noor Aishah's first arrest took place on March 22nd 2016, where armed police surrounded her house and arrested her. She was kept in solitary confinement at an unknown location for 28 days under the Penal Code and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act. According to the NGO working on her case, SUARAM,  Siti was questioned for 12 hours on a daily basis concerning her alleged possession of books deemed ‘illegal’ by the Malaysian government. After she was charged under the Penal Code for ‘giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts’, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered her release after concluding the prosecution had failed to prove the books in her possession were illegal. On the same day of her release, she was arrested under the Prevention of Crime Act and detained for 60 days. She was subsequently placed under house arrest.

Her second and most recent arrest took place on March 28th 2017, after the prosecution was successful in appealing the High Court’s decision at the Court of Appeal which ruled for her case to be reheard. She was taken into police custody immediately.

Amnesty International remains concerned with Malaysia’s reliance on national security and preventive detention laws.

In the past, the Internal Security Act (ISA) was used as a tool to stifle peaceful political dissent. Those arrested under the Act could be detained without trial for up to 60 days while being investigated. The Minister of Home Affairs could then issue detention orders of up to two years, renewable indefinitely. Over the years, Amnesty International documented numerous cases of the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held under the ISA.

The Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012, amended in April 2015, replaced the ISA. The government had promised to replace the ISA with laws that “find a balance between national security and personal freedom”. However, SOSMA fails to meet international human rights standards, as set in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) guaranteeing unimpeded access to lawyers, and ensuring prisoners have full and effective access to prison life on an equitable basis. Rather, SOSMA authorizes placing detainees in solitary confinement; detaining them incommunicado for 48 hours; and denies their access to the courts and/or lawyers for up to 28 days.

In a Parliamentary question, the Deputy Home Minister stated that a total of 989 people have been detained under SOSMA from 31 July 2012 to 22 February 2017; 363 of them have been released, 139 are facing trial and 502 people have been convicted.
The Act has been used indiscriminately against government critics as seen in the 11 day detention of Maria Chin Abdullah in November 2016 and the detention of Khairuddin Abu Hassan for reporting corruption. It is concerning that the government has increasingly invoked national security under a variety of circumstances that may not amount to a security threat, spurning checks and balances on executive power.




+ Please write to


Home Minister

YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi,

Kementerian Dalam Negeri Malaysia,

Blok D1, D2 & D9 Kompleks D,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,

62546 Putrajaya Malaysia

Fax:                 011 603 8889 1613

Email:             ahmadzahid@moha.gov.my

Salutation:     Dear Home Minister

 

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia

Main Block, Perdana Putra Building,

Federal Government Administrative Centre,

62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia

Fax:                 011 603 8888 3444

Salutation:     Dear Prime Minister

 


Please send copies to

The Attorney General of Malaysia

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali      

Attorney General’s Office,

No. 45 Persiaran Perdana Precinct 4,

62100 Putrajaya, Wilayah  

Putrajaya, Malaysia

Fax:     011 603 8890 5670

Email: pro@agc.gov.my


Her Excellency Aminahtun Binti Hj. A. Karim

High Commissioner for Malaysia

60 Boteler Street

Ottawa, Ontario K1N 8Y7

Fax:                 (613) 241-5214

E-mail:           mwottawa@kln.gov.my






+ Additional information

Amnesty International remains concerned with Malaysia’s reliance on national security and preventive detention laws.
In the past, the Internal Security Act (ISA) was used as a tool to stifle peaceful political dissent. Those arrested under the Act could be detained without trial for up to 60 days while being investigated. The Minister of Home Affairs could then issue detention orders of up to two years, renewable indefinitely. Over the years, Amnesty International documented numerous cases of the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held under the ISA.

The Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) 2012, amended in April 2015, replaced the ISA. The government had promised to replace the ISA with laws that “find a balance between national security and personal freedom”. However, SOSMA fails to meet international human rights standards, as set in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules) guaranteeing unimpeded access to lawyers, and ensuring prisoners have full and effective access to prison life on an equitable basis. Rather, SOSMA authorizes placing detainees in solitary confinement; detaining them incommunicado for 48 hours; and denies their access to the courts and/or lawyers for up to 28 days.

In a Parliamentary question, the Deputy Home Minister stated that a total of 989 people have been detained under SOSMA from 31 July 2012 to 22 February 2017; 363 of them have been released, 139 are facing trial and 502 people have been convicted.

The Act has been used indiscriminately against government critics as seen in the 11 day detention of Maria Chin Abdullah in November 2016 and the detention of Khairuddin Abu Hassan for reporting corruption. It is concerning that the government has increasingly invoked national security under a variety of circumstances that may not amount to a security threat, spurning checks and balances on executive power.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 

Your letter will be sent to:

Home Minister
YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi
Kementerian Dalam Negeri Malaysia,
Blok D1, D2 & D9 Kompleks D,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62546 Putrajaya Malaysia
Fax: 011 603 8889 1613
Email: ahmadzahid@moha.gov.my