Islamic Human Rights Commission
1 October 2009
Update Alert: Malaysia – Nor Laila Othman, wife of ISA detainee Mat Sah Bin Mohammed Satray speaks out about her experiences since her husbands arrest
IHRC have uploaded three videos by Nor Laila Othman discussing her personal experiences and those with the authorities, since the arrest of her husband under the controversial ISA (Internal Security Act) law. In this personal account Nor Laila expresses the changes and adjustments, she has had to make as a single mother bringing up her sixteen year old son, as well as the impact this has had on her teenage son.
Please visit Mat Sah bin Mohammed Satrays campaign pack to view the videos:
On 12 June 2009 Mat Sah bin Mohammed Satray completed his seven years of incarceration in the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak. He was arrested on 17 April 2002 under the Internal Security Act (ISA), under which, a person can be held for up to 60 days without a warrant or recourse to trial or access to legal counsel, merely on the basis of suspicion. After the 60 day period ends, the detainee’s case is referred to the Home Secretary who can extend the detention period for two more years which is then renewable indefinitely.
Mat Sah has been accused of being a member of a militant group, Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI); however the Malaysian authorities have no evidence to substantiate the charges against him. His case is representative of the plight of many other innocent Malaysians who have been detained under the ISA. Many have been physically abused during the course of their detention.
According to reports, Mat Sah was sent to a Police Remand Centre in Kuala Lumpur, where he and fellow detainees undertook a special programme set-up by the Malaysian Home Minister, specifically for all ISA detainees. The programme included lectures by speakers from the Islamic Department of Malaysia, as well as by ex-ISA detainees acting as spokespeople for the Home Ministry. Mat Sah described this programme as a ‘counselling and brainwashing program’ specifically arranged for all ISA detainees as in the course of the lectures, the detainees were ‘…advised and coaxed to admit that they are the real Islamic Militants of Jemaah Islamiyyah (JI)…’ in accordance with the allegations of the authorities against them. The detainees were promised that if they ‘agreed to accept’ the allegations against them, they would be released in a few weeks time.
However, Mat Sah has no hope of his freedom, as he was reportedly informed that chances of his release are unlikely.
On a positive note, the Abolish ISA Movement, better known in Malaysia as Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI), a coalition of many organizations, is tirelessly working towards the abolishment of ISA and release of all ISA detainees on the premise that no one should be detained without trial. GMI members have been actively campaigning for Mat Sah’s release, distributing IHRC’s campaign packs at events etc. and encouraging people to write letters to relevant authorities in protest against the unfair detention. Further, they are organizing vigils and meetings with members of the opposition parties in Malaysia for support against ISA. Continuous pressure from campaigners has made a significant difference in highlighting Mat Sah’s predicament and international bodies are taking steps to address this issue.
Hence IHRC encourages campaigners to continue writing letters to the authorities below and supporting this cause.
For a detailed account of Mat Sah’s story please download the campaign pack at: https://www.ihrc.org.uk/show.php?id=2839
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“And what reason have you that you should not fight in the way of Allah and of the weak among the men and the women and the children, (of) those who say: Our Lord! Cause us to go forth from this town, whose people are oppressors, and give us from Thee a guardian and give us from Thee a helper.”
Holy Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 75
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