Thursday, 11 March 2010

Summary of Habeas Corpus proceeding of 8 ISA detainees


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11 March 2010

Summary of Habeas Corpus proceeding of 8 ISA detainees

i. Case: 8 ISA detainees filed Habeas Corpus (Submission on the 10th March 2010 at KL High Court)

ii. Respondent:

  1. Government of Malaysia,
  2. Inspector General of Police (IGP) and
  3. Home Minister

iii. Judge at the High Court: Dato Haji Ghazali Bin Haji Cha

iv. Defence Legal Counsel represented by:

Amer Hamzah Arshad, Edmund Bon Tai Soon, Syamsuriatina Isyak, Richard Wee, Syahredzan Johan, Daniel Albert, Johnson Lim and Seira Secha.


Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is disappointed again to learn that, three foreigners suspected of being involved in international terrorism have been deported back to their countries of origin. This information was revealed by the deputy public prosecutor, Mahmud Abdullah, at the habeas corpus hearing of the eight individuals - seven foreigners and one Malaysian at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, on the 10th March 2010.

They were among the twelve individuals detained on 21st January 2010 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged links with international terrorist organisations. The latest to be deported was Khalid Saleem Mohammed, from Yemen on Mar 6, while the nationalities of the other two deported foreigners are unknown. On the other hand, the only Malaysian, Azzahari Murad, who was detained with the 11 other foreigners, has been put under the Section 8(5) of the ISA, which allows for restricted residence order. He is restricted to areas in Petaling Jaya.

Mahmud raised in his preliminary objection that the detainees are no longer in police custody and that the foreigners have been handed over to the Immigration Department for deportation. Therefore, the habeas corpus application to examine their detention has become academic.

Defence Argument:

Unlawful Detention

Lead defence counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad in his submission stated that to date the lawyers were not allowed to meet with their clients to confirm their deportation. The rights of the detainees to legal access have been denied since the day they were arrested. He argued that the detention of the detainees is unlawful and is against the Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution.

Habeas Corpus an Academic

Counsel Amer Hamzah also responded that in any event, should the matter have become academic (to become denied), the High Court must consider that it has the discretion to hear the matter on public interest or public policy grounds.

Deportation and the Restricted Order is Contempt of Court

He added that while the Respondent (Government, IGP and Home Minister) knew that legal proceedings in High Court were on-foot, they immediately issued an order under Section 8 (5) of the ISA which would have the effect of frustrating the hearing. The Respondents should not be allowed to benefit from any of their actions to “hijack” legal proceedings which were already on-foot.

He told the high court that the defence lawyers have not been informed of the Azzahari’s Restricted Residence Order which was just issued on the morning of the 10th March. Moreover, Amer said that the action taken by the government to deport the foreigners at the eleventh hour was more than contempt of court.

The judge has fixed 11th March, evening 2 o’clock for decision on whether to proceed with the habeas corpus application.

SUARAM would like reiterate our stand that the government should abolish the ISA and allow the detainees to have a fair trial and judicial review. We are strongly against any laws that provide for detention without trial and we always believe that no one is guilty until proven innocent. We hope the judge will deliver his judgment with consideration of the points that have been raised by the defence counsel.

Released by,


SUARAM Coordinator

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