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LFL slams Saifuddin, wants inquiry into Kimanis detention centre – Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Human rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has slammed home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for downplaying a “food and health crisis” at the Kimanis immigration detention centre in Sabah.
Its director Zaid Malek described Saifuddin’s remarks on the matter as “one of the most specious and ridiculous responses ever advanced by a home minister in the face of custodial abuse”.
“It is unacceptable and contrary to good governance for the home minister to outrightly dismiss this very serious complaint on video by a detainee.
“Instead of ordering an inquiry, Saifuddin puts the blame instead on the detainees by alleging that their unhealthy physical state was something that occurred before they were detained,” he said in a statement.
The group expressed its dismay that the government which is now led by Pakatan Harapan (PH), who have long heralded themselves as “reformists”, are now following in the footsteps of their “abusive predecessors”.
On Dec 9, Saifuddin said a frail-looking individual who alleged dismal conditions at the Kimanis immigration detention centre was already in poor health before he was detained.
This comes after a video clip and several photographs went viral on social media showing frail-looking individuals said to have been incarcerated at the centre.
In the video, a frail-looking man claimed that detainees were not getting enough food and drink, while requests for medicine were also not entertained by immigration officers.
Zaid called for an immediate and independent inquiry into the allegations of ill treatment of detainees, adding that the results of such inquiry should be presented in Parliament and made public.
He said informants and whistleblowers must also be afforded protection from harassment by the authorities and should not be investigated or charged for coming forward with information.
“The minister must also publicly undertake that the detainee in the video would not be penalised or punished in any manner for speaking out,” he added.
Earlier, the Malaysia International Humanitarian Organisation also urged the home ministry to look into the matter, adding that it should consider allowing NGOs to enter the detention centres to see for themselves the conditions of the centres involved.
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