By Shaila Koshy
IT was still dark outside the home of Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed Ali and his brother Mohamed Rafe in Batu Caves on March 8 when the entire family was awakened by loud knocks on the front door.
When they opened the door, they saw six to seven policemen who had come to take them away for interrogation under the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 on suspicion of motorcycle theft.
Three months later, they and their friend Muhamad Arif Abu Samah, 19, were banished to different states for two years by orders under the EO.
In a telephone interview from Pahang, Ramadan, 22, said the first thing the police did after they entered their home at the Taman Mulia Selayang low-cost flats was to take his and his brother’s identity cards and motorcycle keys.
“They said they were investigating motorcycle thefts and wanted to question us,” said Mohamed Rafe, 19, in a telephone interview from Kedah.
The cops then went to Mohamed Arif’s flat which was in the same block. All three were taken to the Gombak district police headquarters in Selayang. The three steadfastly denied they were involved in motor-cycle thefts.
Then began a merry-go-round of police stations which confused the boys so much they could not remember how many days they spent at each place.
All three claim they were abused during their 10-day remand and were made to sign documents without knowing what they were. None of the three have a previous criminal record.
“I told my brother Aswan about this when he visited me later on April 22 and he lodged a police report on what had happened to me,” said Arif.
Sometime in mid-March, all three were slapped with a 60-day detention order under Section 3(1) of the EO. And on May 16, they were told they could return home and pack their bags, and make their way the next day to their new home states and register at the police station there.
The 60-day order had been replaced by a two-year one which also restricted their movement: Muhamad Arif was banished to Mukim Lenggor in Mersing; Mohamed Ramadan to Mukim Chenor in Maran, and Mohamed Rafe to Mukim Sungai Ular in Kulim.
They have to report to the local police station every day and they are not to leave their homes between 8pm and 6am.
Muhamad Arif, who lives in a hostel, works in the fast-food industry, and Mohamed Rafe, who now lives in a single-storey terrace house in Taman Seri Kota, is a general worker at a factory. Ramadan works for his contractor landlord when he can.
Arif, who had to wait longer to find a job, said the people at his new neighbourhood, hostel and workplace were friendly.
“I told them the truth and they accepted it.”
Mohamed Ramadan, however, is having a harder time: “Because I have been banished here the older folks tell the younger ones not to befriend me, saying I take drugs.”
Mohamed Ramadan and Mohamed Rafe’s family have also suffered financial loss since their arrest.
At a press conference on May 5, their sister Afizah revealed that she had received a telephone call from a man who claimed to be one Inspector Zulkifli from the Gombak district police station.
He asked her to post RM30,000 bail for their release but finally agreed to the sum of RM13,000 which he asked her to deposit into a bank account in the name of one Ponnan a/l Subramaniam.
The family did as instructed. Soon after, they discovered they had been duped there was no Inspector Zulkifli and RM5,000 had been withdrawn from the account.
On Aug 25, the trio took their first step towards defending themselves; they applied for leave for judicial review of the restriction orders and challenge of the EO itself.
But the case was adjourned to Oct 5 at the request of the A-G’s Chambers who wanted to file submissions to object to the trio’s prayers for the EO to be repealed.
This article was originally published by The Star on 11 September 2011. Click here to view original.