AMNESTY International Malaysia (AI) is deeply concerned over the use of a blanket injunction reportedly obtained by the police for the 28 Oct 2009 Perak state legislative assembly. Such restraining orders allow for abuse of police powers, as any person within a stipulated range can be arrested without due process and proper examination of facts. This subjects the public to the risk of detention, torture, and other forms of ill-treatment and selective prosecution.
It has become the standard practice for police to obtain such court orders to facilitate mass crackdowns on peaceful assemblies. Applications are made and granted based solely on one party’s prejudice. This undermines the people’s right to be heard in an open court and to address allegations, unfounded grounds and concerns, making a mockery of our justice system. It furthermore undermines the fundamental freedom of assembly and movement guaranteed by our Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
AI would like to strongly remind the Malaysian police of their statutory duty to protect the interests and rights of the public. The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials spells out in Article 5 that no law enforcement official may inflict, instigate or tolerate any act of torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. They may not justify these actions by citing superior orders or exceptional circumstances such as a threat to national security.
Any policing and public order exercise must clearly demonstrate compliance with human rights. The public must be assured of a professional and credible police service. We call on the police to respect the fundamental freedoms of Malaysians, and to stop the current practice of obtaining unilateral court orders to crack down on peaceful gatherings.
Amnesty International Malaysia
28 Oct 2009