Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Three teens detained under EO, family cries foul

Three teenagers are being detained without trial at the Simpang Renggam detention centre under the Emergency Ordinance 1969, and their family members are crying foul.

Accompanied by representatives of human rights group Suaram, the relatives of the detainees took their case to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) today, pleading for intervention.

"Please help me to bring back my son. He is a good boy and I want him to be successful in his studies," said M Gowri, 42, who was among the 15 relatives present.

According to Suaram's memorandum to Suhakam, the trio from Semenyih, aged between 15 and 17, are supposed to sit for PMR and SPM examinations this year.

They were detained on Dec 21 last year on allegations of being a public nuisance and being in possession of a stolen vehicle.

The trio were held in several police stations for a total of 21 days until their remand period expired. They were then transferred to Simpang Renggam detention centre.

Their parents claim they were only notified of their children's fate after they were held at the detention centre. The detention order expires on March 9.

The two-page memorandum also urged the commission to take immediate action on the matter and appeal to the Home Ministry for their release.

The memorandum was handed to Suhakam commissioner N Siva Subramaniam.

Suhakam to appeal

Suaram director S Arutchelvan said the detentions were violations of Article 16 (1) and (11) of the Federal Constitution, Article 42 of the Child Act 2001 and Article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"We would like to urge the government to take immediate action and release the teenagers. They are supposed to be sitting for major examinations this year and the detention would affect their future," said Arutchelvan.

Addressing the family members and Suaram later, Siva Subramaniam criticised the authorities for placing the teenagers in the Simpang Renggam detention centre, noting that it is a place where many "serious criminals" are being held.

“Placing them in the Henry Gurney prisoners school (in Malacca), would be a better option," he added.

The Simpang Renggam detention centre has often been criticised as a 'training school' for criminals because of the high concentration of hardcore criminals held there under the Emergency Ordinance.

The commissioner also promised to immediately submit a written appeal to the Home Affairs Ministry and locate the three detainees' school records.

Siva Subramaniam later turned his attention to discipline problems among youths which he felt had reached alarming proportions. He urged the police and NGOs to work together to combat this issue.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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