Malaysia: Police harassment against SUARAM’s Executive Director, Mr. Sevan Doraisamy

18/12/2019
Urgent Appeal

MYS 001 / 1219 / OBS 108
Harassment /
Obstacles to freedom of association
and peaceful assembly
Malaysia
December 18, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Malaysian human rights non-governmental organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) about the police harassment against its Executive Director, Mr. Sevan Doraisamy.

According to the information received, on December 13, 2019, Mr. Sevan Doraisamy was contacted by the police to be questioned under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code for organising a public forum on security laws.

On December 17, 2019, Mr. Sevan Doraisamy appeared before the Police Classified Criminal Investigation Unit (D5) at Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, and was questioned for an hour about a forum SUARAM organised on November 25, 2019 to discuss the use of the draconian Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) to arrest and detain 12 individuals with alleged ties to the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka [1].

In a separate case, on October 11, 2019, the Kangar District Police Chief filed a defamation complaint against Mr. Doraisamy under Section 500 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, after SUARAM had lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) and organised a press conference to denounce the wrongful arrest of a father and his son in September 2019 and the abuses to which the two had been subjected during their detention. Both were mistakenly arrested over a kidnapping report involving a 15-year-old girl. On October 16, 2019, the police questioned Mr. Doraisamy for almost five hours in relation to this case.

Mr. Doraisamy has been summoned for questioning by police at least 10 times over the past five years in connection with his human rights work with SUARAM.

The Observatory strongly denounces the harassment of Mr. Sevan Doraisamy, which seems to be only aimed at punishing him from his legitimate human rights activities, and in particular for denouncing human rights violations and misuse of power by police.

The Observatory urges the authorities of Malaysia to put an end to any form of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Sevan Doraisamy and all human rights defenders in Malaysia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Malaysia asking them to:

i. Put an end to any form of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Sevan Doraisamy and all human rights defenders in Malaysia, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without any hindrance or fear of reprisals;

ii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1, 5 and 12.2;

iii. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Malaysia.

Addresses:

· Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, Fax: +60 3 8888 3444, Email: ppm@pmo.gov.my, Twitter: @chedetofficial
· Mr. Muhyiddin Yassi, Minister of Home Affairs of Malaysia, Fax: +60 3 8889 1613 / +60 3 8889 1610, Email: pro@moha.gov.my
· Attorney General of Malaysia, Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, Fax: +603 8890 5670 Email: pro@agc.gov.my
· Tan Sri Othman Bin Hashim, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Fax: +60 3 2612 5620, Email: humanrights@suhakam.org.my
· H.E. Mr. Ahmad Faisal bin Muhamad, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 710 75 01, Email: mwgeneva@kln.gov.my
· Embassy of Malaysia in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 762 50 49, Email: mwbrussels@kln.gov.my
• H.E. Ms. Maria Castillo Fernandez, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Malaysia, Email: delegation-malaysia@eeas.europa.eu
• Ms. Camelia Tudose, Human Rights Focal Point, Delegation of the European Union in Malaysia, Email: Camelia-Narcis.TUDOSE@eeas.europa.eu

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Malaysia in your respective countries.

***
Geneva-Paris, December 18, 2019

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax OMCT +41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / +41 22 809 49 29
· Tel and fax FIDH +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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[1]For more information, see OMCT and SUARAM joint statement, published on November 11, 2019: https://www.omct.org/monitoring-protection-mechanisms/statements/malaysia/2019/11/d25591/

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