On Abuse of SOSMA
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Inspector General of Police must explain why Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) was used to detain Maria Chin Abdullah, when the law was originally intended to counter terrorism. As an activist, Maria did not pose the same kind threat a terrorist on a suicide mission would. We do not see any justification at all to detain her under Sosma.

When Sosma was introduced in 2012 to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA), the government had given an assurance that the new law would be used only against terror suspects. At that time, there had been much disquiet over how the ISA had been abused over the years to quell dissent by way of detention without trial.

But with Maria's detention under Sosma, the government had not only gone back on its words, it had also reverted to outdated policing practices that go against the international norms of respecting basic civil liberties.

IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar owes the public an explanation on how and why Maria is a threat to national security in the same way terror suspects are. The explanation has to be specific and in clear tangible terms, in line with transparency and good governance which CENBET promotes.

Failure to give a satisfactory explanation is not only unprofessional, it constitutes an abuse of power and may be a criminal misconduct in itself. Worse, it may open the floodgates to similar abuses. This goes against the spirit of openness pledged by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak during his Sept 16, 2011 speech where he announced the repeal or review of regressive laws like the ISA, , Restricted Residence Act and Printing Presses and Publication Act.

We call on Maria to be released immediately and for the police to stop using Sosma for non-terror suspects.

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