UPDATE (MALAYSIA) : A youth activist arrested in a student march for justice 


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-28-2003

Dear Friends

Update on the seven students (dubbed as the ISA7) case: a youth activist arrested in a student march for justice. One youth activist was arrested while he was in the march to support the ISA7 on 17 July 2003. We are forwarding the urgent appeal letter from the Independent Student Resource & Legal Training Centre (ISREC) which is conducting the campaign for the ISA7.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission

Students right at stake!
A youth activist arrested in a student march for justice.

On 17 July 2003, 300 strong crowd of students marched peacefully from the Kuala Lumpur National Mosque to the Magistrate Court, in support of the seven students (dubbed as the ISA7), whom are facing criminal trial. The seven students were charged for participating in a peaceful assembly to protest Internal Security Act 1960 on 08 June 2001. The peaceful march was conducted in a calm manner with no motive of disrupting peace and public security.

Unfortunately, an engineer who is also a youth activist, Syahrir Mahmood was arrested by the police during the march. He was brought to the Police Station in Stadium Road, for further investigations but was released on police bail at around 7.30 p.m.

In view of the incident, above, we appeal to you to issue a public statement, addressing the gross violation of human rights arising from the incident, as reported below-

Use of force and threat against Syahrir Mahmood and other.

Several witnesses identified seven policemen in uniform approached Syahrir in an attempt to curb him from continuing with the march. Syahrir was sprayed at the eyes with tear gas and due to this, almost become unconscious. He was hit several times at the head and back and as a result, there are some bruises on his head and his neck was bleeding and swollen. Regardless of these injuries, Syahrir was then handcuffed. In addition, the physical assault by the policemen continued after he was handcuffed and despite the fact that he was already weak and helpless at that point of time.

It was unnecessary for the policemen to resort to violence and used force against Syahrir as the march was a harmless event- where students and youth demonstrated their support to the ISA7 by merely marching towards the Magistrate Court peacefully. Chaos ensued only after the police intervened and used force against the participants. Furthermore, it was irrelevant for the police to use force as their team had outnumbered the marching crowd as a whole.

No negotiation!

Unlike other peaceful assembly, the OCPD in charge of the police team, Mr. Hadi Ho rejected any request of negotiation with the crowd on the grounds that no negotiation should take place, as this was an illegal procession. This had disallowed the crowd from continuing with the march or to disperse within a reasonable time and in a calm condition. His stand dismissed any form of diplomacy and democratic space for the students to proceed with the march and to display their opinion pertaining to the ISA7 case.

We would also appreciate it if you could address the following relevant issues in your public statement-

Syahrir should be free from any legal implications arising from the arrest.
The Inspector General Police and Malaysian Government should take immediate action against the policemen involved in the violent act.
The National Human Right Commission, Bar Council and Malaysian human rights advocates should openly condemn police violence which occur from time to time during peaceful assembly by setting up an urgent inquiry committee which will investigate into this matter thoroughly and independently.

Your support in this matter is highly appreciated and we thank you for your attention.

Yours Sincerely

Campaign Coordinator for ISA7
Independent Student Resource & Legal Training Centre (ISREC)

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-28-2003
Countries :