Let us not forget
by Teo Soh Lung
This Hari Raya season we remember that there are at least 16 Muslims still imprisoned without trial under the ISA. At least four of them are now detained for more than 10 years. Haji Ibrahim bin Haji Maidin, Mohamad Anuar bin Margono, Alahuddeen bin Abdullah and Mohd Aslam bin Yar Ali Khan were all arrested shortly after 11 September 2001.
Will they be imprisoned for as long as Dr Chia Thye Poh whose refusal to admit a false allegation that he is a communist cost him 32 years of his life. Or like Dr Lim Hock Siew who was imprisoned for 20 years because he refused to “save the face” of Lee Kuan Yew by making the ridiculous statement that he believed in democracy but would give up politics? By the time both men were released, age and health were against them and they could not re-enter politics. That was probably the intention of the PAP.
It disturbs me that Haji Ibrahim, Haji Ibrahim, Alahuddeen and Mohd Aslam are imprisoned for so long without trial. Are the reasons for their detention akin to those of Dr Chia and Dr Lim? Were they asked to admit that they are members of Jemaah Islamiah and had planned to bomb our MRT station when they are not such members and have no plans to plant any bombs? Or is our government under instructions from the United States not to release them as the States have not released the prisoners of Guantanamo? Or is the reason simply to justify the existence of the ISA?
The government has not kept us informed of the well being of these political prisoners. In 1987, MP Chiam See Tong and NCMP Dr Lee Siew Choh raised the issue of the detention of the alleged Marxist conspirators in parliament. Today, Haji Ibrahim bin Haji Maidin, Mohamad Anuar bin Margono, Alahuddeen bin Abdullah, Mohd Aslam bin Yar Ali Khan, Jahpar bin Osman, Mohamed Rashid bin Zainal Abidin, Muhamad Yassin Khan bin Muhamad, Mas Selamat bin Kastari, Mohd Azmi bin Ali, Abdul Majid s/o Kunji Mohammad, Samad bin Subari, Sahrudin bin Mohd Sapian, Mohamed Rafee bin Abdul Rahman, Abdul Rahim bin Abdul Rahman, Husaini bin Ismail and Abdul Basheer s /o Abdul Kader languish in jail, forgotten by all.
If we care about the rule of law and human rights, we should not forget these 16 political prisoners still languishing in jail.