Yesterday, DAP’s P Ramasamy asked the police to explain why 29 Indian men remained detained at a lock-up in Banting, Selangor, for the past two months despite court orders to let them free, according to FMT.
He said the men were apparently rounded up to be investigated over a shooting case.
“I am made to understand that despite a court order to release them, the police are still holding them in custody. If the police have evidence of the crime committed, then those involved must be charged without any delay.
Can the police inform the public the details of their arrests and why they have not been released if there is no evidence linking them to the shooting”, the Penang deputy chief minister said in a statement on Facebook today.
The case has since gained traction as netizens found it concerning after a video was uploaded on social media platforms. The video shows the alleged men in orange suits being roughed up in a circle by enforcers with one victim getting kicked in the head after a court session.
In the clip, one of the men is seen trying to explain that they do not want to go back to the police station because they are scared that the police would force them into pleading guilty – even though they have been proven innocent in court.
Watch it here:
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The voice of the woman in the video is allegedly from one of the men’s wife, who is explaining that despite being proven innocence by the court, the police are not letting them go. She noted that some of them do not even know each other and were pooled into the group for no reason.
What started out as an interview with the police led to her husband being locked up for two days which turned into two months.
During the two months of being locked up, another man in the video said that there were not enough meals given out to the victims which resulted in them starving themselves.
Back in September, the men were arrested in a major police operation launched after a shooting incident near a school in Banting. Selangor CID chief Fadzil Ahmad said the operation, code name “Ops Blackjack”, led to the arrest of 19 people suspected of involvement in gang activities and organised crime.
Bukit Aman CID director Comm Huzir Mohamed said today that these men are still in police custody because they are being detained under the Prevention of Crime Act (POCA) law which allows detention without trial.
KENYATAAN MEDIA PENGARAH JABATAN SIASATAN JENAYAH
Tangkapan Ke Atas Kumpulan Janayah Terancang Geng TCB 21. pic.twitter.com/6Qt6jm01jX
— Polis Diraja M’sia (@PDRMsia) November 13, 2020
In an open letter to Malaysiakini, the author said that the fundamental problem with these “detention without trial” (DWT) laws in Malaysia is that the victim could not even challenge the reasons for their arrest, detention and/or restriction in a court of law.
DWT laws allow for an individual to be detained and/or restricted indefinitely according to the whims and fancies of the government, be it a minister or an appointed board.
A person who has been arrested, detained and/or restricted under these draconian laws are also denied their fundamental rights to a fair trial. The state could then also deny the rights and liberties of the innocent.
In 2018, Lawyers for Liberty shared shocking cases of five Indians who died in police custody under suspicious circumstances with evidence of torture, abuse and neglect.
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Today, Klang MP Charles Santiago released a statement on Twitter asking for the release of the men.
In his statement, he said that he was told that one of the men’s mothers is threatening to set herself on fire if her son is not released by the first day of Diwali which is tomorrow (Nov 14).
The statement also said that now there are 25 men being detained, while 2 have escaped.
Press Statement : 13 November 2020
“While I ask the police to release all 25 men as ordered by the court, I also urge the government to set-up the IPCMC as opposed to its watered-down version to ensure the police do not take the law into their hands.” pic.twitter.com/JZZxpR27Dw
— Charles Santiago (@mpklang) November 13, 2020