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Jakarta urged to intervene in ISA cases

KUALA LUMPUR: The Abolish ISA Movement or Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) wants the Indonesian government to pressure Malaysia for the release of the five of its nationals detained here under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five, Agus Salim, Zainun Rasyhid, Mahfudl Saifuddin, Mulyadi and Ahamad Ghafar Shahril, have been in detention for between one month and seven years.

GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh hoped the Indonesian consulate would investigate the cases and raise the issue to the authorities, such as the Indonesian Ministry of Internal Affairs, their Human Rights Commission Komnas HAM Indonesia, and even President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Syed Ibrahim
“In 2007, when we brought the issue to the Indonesian embassy, the cooperation and involvement of the Indonesian government was one of the factors that contributed to the release of the ISA detainees,” said Syed Ibrahim after submitting a memorandum to the First Secretary of the Indonesian Consulate Selamat Nugroho in Malaysia at the embassy today.

In 4 Aug 2008, four Indonesians who were detained under the ISA for alleged links to international militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and Darul Islam (DI) were released from Kamunting. GMI had brought their cases to the attention of the Indonesian home minister after earlier attempts to see consulate officers to pressure the Indonesian government to intervene failed in December 2007.

Syed Ibrahim said apart from Agus, who was recently arrested under Section 73(1) of the ISA in Johor, Zainun has been detained without trial for seven years in Kamunting for allegedly being linked to JI.

In addition, Mahfudl and Mulyadi were arrested under the same charge in 2005, while Ahamad was detained for allegedly being involved in DI in the same year.

Speaking to reporters later, First Secretary Selamat said the Indonesian embassy would have to verify the identities of the five detainees before further action can be taken.

Syed Ibrahim stressed that these detainees have never been proven guilty, and have not been given a chance to defend themselves fairly and openly in any Malaysian court.

Moreover, he said, their families often live in fear because of harassment and intimidation from Special Branch officers.

Agus’s mother, Kartam, 56, and younger brother Junaidi, 27, met him for the first time at Bukit Aman yesterday since his arrest more than a month ago. However, they did not turn up at the embassy today. GMI learnt later that they had gone back to Johor this morning.

“They have probably succumbed to the pressure from the police,” commented Syed Ibrahim. Malaysiakini reported yesterday that the federal police had subjected Agus’s family members to intimidation at Bukit Aman.

GMI committee member Nashita Md Noor, 43, who accompanied them to Bukit Aman yesterday, said the police had advised Agus’s family members to stay away from GMI and its family support group because “dia orang ini jahat, dia orang akan buat bising.”

In a related case, GMI has also failed to reach the family members of Abdul Matin Anol Rahmat, another recent ISA detainee. Sixty-year-old self-employed Abdul Matin was detained in Johor Baru on 1 April for suspected involvement in the JI.

“Some of these families are afraid; the police would tell them if you keep quiet, your son [or daughter] will be released soon. Otherwise, they may be tortured or detained longer. This is the psychological tactic commonly used by the police,” said Syed Ibrahim.

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