Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Press Release:Denial of access to legal representation is a gross human rights violation

ImageThe Bar Council is concerned that since the arrest of 9 individuals of Nigerian, Syrian and Yemeni nationalities under the Internal Security Act (1960) on 21 January 2010, they have not been allowed access to lawyers. These individuals have since then remained in continuous detention whilst their whereabouts and condition remain unknown.

The right to legal representation upon arrest remains an important right against any form of trangression on the rights of detainees.

Any attempt to justify these arrests will trivialise the Government’s attempt to reform ISA and implement fundamental and universal human rights.

We condemn the arrest of these persons under the ISA as it is arbitrary and a gross violation of international human rights norms. It goes against the very essence of humanity when these persons are deprived of any right to defend themselves! The rule of law and constitutional rights are applicable to all, citizens and non-citizens.

We call for the abolition of the ISA and for the immediate release of these arrested persons or otherwise, that they be charged in a court of law.

Ragunath Kesavan
Malaysian Bar
23 February 2010 [link]

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