'Detainees being ill-treated'


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 08 May 2003

By STEPHEN THEN

BINTULU: The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has expressed outrage with what it has described as ill-treatment of women and children detainees and those detained for long periods in police lock-ups without legal counselling. 

The commission will arrange a meeting with the police commissioners and chief police officers in all states and with instructors responsible for coaching police personnel, to voice its protest and to seek an urgent remedy to the situation. 

Suhakam Commissioner Prof Mohd Hamdan Adnan yesterday said the commission had received complaints that men, women and even children detainees have been repeatedly denied their basic rights after being detained by the police. 

“We have come across complaints by women that they have been forced to stay in lock-ups totally naked. These women are those arrested during vice raids. 

“We have come across cases of children being detained but not given help to contact their parents or lawyers. We have also discovered cases of lock-ups with little ventilation and no toilet but with 80 detainees held in a cell meant for maximum of 18 people. 

“There is an urgent need to end this appalling situation in the lock-ups. 

Hamdan: 'There is an urgent need to end this appaling situation.'

“We know the police are facing a lot of limitations and we want to help address these issues,” he told a press conference here. 

Hamdan was in Bintulu together with commissioners Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Datuk Asiah Abu Samah and Dr Mohammad Hirman Ritom Abdullah to conduct a human rights awareness dialogue with community leaders, NGOs and heads of government departments here. 

He said the commission has requested a meeting with the police to be held in Putrajaya next month as this issue of ill-treatment of detainees had become widespread. 

Hamdan said Suhakam would insist that the Government draw up a human rights module for the police so that they would have clear and mandatory guidelines on what rights must be accorded to detainees, for example legal counselling and access to family within 24 hours.  

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