The Bar Council welcomes the decision of the Home Ministry to free four detainees under the Internal Security Act ('ISA') whose two–year term of detention had recently expired.
The Bar Council calls for all remaining detainees under the ISA to be either forthwith charged in court or be immediately released from detention, without having to wait until the expiry of their respective periods of detention.
The continuing use of the ISA to detain persons without trial defeats the Government's own claim to be subject to the rule of law, and will only add credence to the notion and perception that such persons are indeed detained not for any 'security reasons' but are being unjustly punished for their political or other activities which either do not constitute an offence under the law or in relation to which no offence can be proved or established. In either case the detention would be unfair and unjustified.
The Bar Council renews its call for the Government to repeal the ISA. Pending such repeal, the Act must cease to be used, and all detainees thereunder should be immediately released or charged in court.
Dated this 3rd day of June 2003.
Haji Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari