From The Star Online
By Stephen Then, 21 February 2009
MIRI: The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has sent a protest note to the state and federal police over the detention of three villagers, including a nursing mother, under the Emergency Ordinance.
Suhakam Commissioner for Sarawak Dr Mohd Hirman Ritom said: ”Our stand is that the use of the Emergency Ordinance by the police in this case is unjustified.”
”Do these people pose such a threat to society that they must be held without trial?
”Why is it that they cannot be brought to court and charged under the Penal Code?”
Dr Hirman told The Star yesterday that commission members held a full-board meeting on the latest development involving the arrest of villagers Bunya Sengok, 21, Marai Sengok and his wife Melati Bekeni, both 28, at the Bintulu police station.
The trio were arrested and held under the ordinance for 60 days from Jan 15.
Sarawak CID director Senior Asst Comm II Huzir Mohamed said the two men were suspected of being involved in a series of robberies while Melati was said to have harboured them and had kept stolen property.
However, Sengok’s family claimed that the trio were arrested because their family was involved in a heated dispute with a development consortium over a project on a plot of land they claimed was their native ancestral land.
Melati is still nursing her 18-month-old daughter. She also has a three-year-old son.
Dr Hirman said the Suhakam commissioners did not dwell on the alleged land disputes, but on the reasons given by the police on the detention.
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