Amnesty International Report 2005 - Brunei Darussalam
|Publication Date||25 May 2005|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2005 - Brunei Darussalam , 25 May 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/429b27d919.html [accessed 25 April 2015]|
Covering events from January - December 2004
The Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial, was used against people suspected of "subversive activities" and money counterfeiting. The death penalty was applied for drugs offences. Criminal suspects were sentenced to caning. Amendments to the Immigration Act introduced mandatory caning for some immigration offences.
Under a 1962 state of emergency, constitutional provisions safeguarding fundamental liberties remained suspended. The monarch, Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, continued to exercise a wide range of executive powers, holding the offices of Prime Minister, Defence Minister, Finance Minister and head of the police. In July the Sultan ordered the reconvening of an appointed Legislative Council (last convened in 1984). The Council approved a constitutional amendment opening the way for the creation of a 45-member parliament, including 15 elected representatives.
Internal Security Act
People continued to be arrested under the ISA, which allows the Minister of Home Affairs, with the approval of the Sultan, to detain anyone deemed to be a threat to national security or public order. The Minister is empowered to sign two-year detention orders renewable indefinitely. ISA detainees are denied the rights to a trial, to legal counsel and to be presumed innocent. Those arrested were at risk of ill-treatment or torture during prolonged interrogation while held in isolation.
- In July, three men were detained under the ISA. One, a former police officer, was accused of treason for leaking sensitive or classified documents. The two others, a former police Special Branch officer and a businessman, were accused of disseminating "subversive propaganda" after posting secret or sensitive information on the Internet.
- In July, six alleged former members of the Al-Arqam Islamist group detained in September 2003 were released after they had sworn loyalty to the Sultan. Following months of religious "rehabilitation" while in detention, the men reportedly "confessed" and expressed remorse for attempting to revive the banned group.
- Sixteen men were detained under the ISA between late 2003 and early 2004 accused of involvement in the distribution of counterfeit currency.
Death penalty and corporal punishment
In October the High Court sentenced a Malaysian national to death for possession of cannabis. Although death sentences have been imposed for drugs and other serious criminal offences in recent years, no executions were known to have been carried out since 1957.
Caning continued to be carried out as a mandatory punishment for a range of criminal offences. In February amendments to the Immigration Act introduced stiffer penalties, including mandatory caning, for those found guilty of immigration offences such as illegal entry or overstaying.