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Startseite Urgent Actions 2014 09 Detained student activist at risk of torture
UA 241/14
Malaysia
Abgeschlossen am 6. November 2014

Detained student activist at risk of torture

AI-Index: ASA 28/010/2014

Student activist Ali Abdul Jalil was beaten up by prison officers in Malaysia and is facing charges under the country’s draconian Sedition Act. He is a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. He is at risk of further torture or other ill-treatment.

Ali Abdul Jalil was arrested on 8 September and charged at Selayang Session Court, Selangor state, under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act for comments allegedly criticising the monarchy. He was released later that day after posting bail of 5,000 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately US$1,570) but was immediately rearrested and charged at Shah Alam Session Court with two further counts under the same provision of the Sedition Act. He was taken to Sungai Buloph prison, Selangor state, where he was held for 15 days. During this time he was verbally and physically ill-treated by a prison officer who punched him in the stomach, slapped his face, and hit his leg with a baton and rubber pipe. Ali Abdul Jalil’s family were not allowed to visit him for his first 12 days in detention.

Ali Abdul Jalil was released again on bail on 23 September; however, he was immediately rearrested and sent to Johor Bharu Selatan prison, where he remains in detention. He is now facing three charges under Article 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act. The charges relate to posting so-called «seditious» comments on social media on 21 January 2014 and again on 18 August – including comments allegedly mocking the Johor sultanate and calling for the state’s monarchy to be abolished. Ali Abdul Jalil has been charged and detained solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Over the past two months, the Malaysian authorities have intensified their use of the Sedition Act, a colonial-era law that criminalizes criticism of the government, to target peaceful dissidents. Two student activists were recently convicted and sentenced under the Sedition Act. On 19 September, Adam Adli was sentenced to one year in prison, while Safwan Anang was sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment on 5 September. Since the beginning of August, at least eight people, including Ali Abdul Jalil, have been charged with making «seditious» statements under the Act. The eight – who also include Wan Ji Wan Hussin, Chow Mun Fai, David Orok, Dr Azmi Sharom, N. Surendran, Khalid Samad and RSN Rayer – are now among 15 people known to be facing sedition charges. See UA 231/14, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ASA28/009/2014/en.

On 22 September, police in Malaysia announced that they were re-opening a sedition investigation relating to a speech given by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim during a political rally in March 2011 in which he criticized the government.

Amnesty International has serious concerns about the Sedition Act, which criminalizes a wide array of acts, including those «with a tendency to excite disaffection against any Ruler or government» or to «question any matter» protected by the Constitution. Those found guilty can face three years in prison, be fined up to 5,000 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately US$1,570) or both. The Sedition Act does not comply with international human rights law and standards, and violates the right to freedom of expression, which is enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and also guaranteed in Article 10 of the Malaysian Constitution.

Amnesty International is also concerned about persistent reports of torture and other ill-treatment of those detained in Malaysia, which in some cases have resulted in deaths in custody. The country is bound by rules of customary international law which prohibit torture and other ill-treatment in all circumstances.


Name: Ali Abdul Jalil

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