Home 2010: 8 The quest for justice continues

The quest for justice continues

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… for Aminulrasyid, Azzamudin, Mohd Afham, Norizan Salleh, Shahril Azlan and A Kugan … as Lawyers for Liberty submit a memorandum to the Home Affairs Ministry.

Aminulrasyid Amzah, 14 - shot dead

Is there no justice and rule of law in Malaysia? Can the police abuse their powers as they please and escape the law, justice, criminal prosecution and disciplinary action for all the unjustifiable and unlawful shootings, deaths in custody and torture?

We are here to remind Home Minister Hishammudin Hussein of the serious cases of police brutality over the last 2 years that are still awaiting justice and answers. The family members, survivors, supporters and their lawyers will not be deceived by the authorities’ half-hearted actions on these cases while hoping that in time, the uproar over these cases will fade away.

We remind the Home Minister the names of these young Malaysians and what they have suffered at the hands and guns of the police:

* April 2010, Aminulrasyid Amzah, 15 – shot to death

Only one policeman was charged for manslaughter but no charges or serious disciplinary actions for the other policemen involved in the fatal shooting of the juvenile driver of a car and the subsequent cover up of the case by making false allegations and fabricating evidence against Aminul and Azammudin, including Selangor CPO Khalid Abu Bakar. There was also no apology from the police or government officials but instead they sought to blame the parents for not watching their children.

* April 2010, Azzamudin Omar, 15 – shot at but miraculously escaped serious injuries

Azammudin was Aminul’s passenger in the car on that terrible night which traumatised the nation. Although he escaped almost certain death, he was assaulted by several policemen after the incident, and one policeman aimed his weapon at this schoolboy – ready to shoot but only stopped due to the arrival of another police vehicle. No charges or serious disciplinary actions were preferred against any of the police personnel involved.

* October 2009, Mohd Afham Arin, 18 – shot to death

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He was shot dead by the police. His friend Mohd Firdaus Marsani, 19, who was also shot at, said that three unidentified persons (who later turned out to be plainclothes policemen) on motorbikes chased their motorbike and shot at them. The police as usual claimed that they were criminals and had weapons threatening the police. No charges were laid against any police personnel for causing death, grievous hurt or for fabrication of evidence.

* October 2009: Norizan Salleh, 30 – shot five times but miraculously survived

The single mum was shot five times by the police while travelling in a car with another person. She was then pulled out from the car and kicked and beaten. There was no lawful basis for the police to open fire at the car as at no point were the police in danger. No charges have been filed against any of the policemen involved despite an undertaking given personally by the Home Minister to Norizan that action would be taken.

* April 2009: Shahril Azlan, 26 – shot once

He was shot for trying to avoid a road block due to the car’s expired road tax. The police also attempted to accuse the victim of drug possession and left him there for two hours before an ambulance arrived. He was offered a few hundred ringgit to cover his medical cost by the police and was promised that action would be taken against the police personnel involved but nothing was forthcoming.

* January 2009: A. Kugan, 22 – tortured to death while in police custody

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The most shocking death in police custody in recent memory – Kugan’s scarred and tortured body shocked the entire nation. Not only did a healthy young man die after being in police custody for five days with obvious signs of torture, the police and hospital authorities attempted to cover up the death by stating that he died due to “fluid in his lungs.” No one was charged for the murder despite the known identities of the perpetrators. After tremendous public pressure, only one low-ranking police constable was charged for causing grievous hurt.

With a new IGP at the helm of the police force, we urge the Minister to take this opportunity to make a clean break from the police’s long tarnished history and reputation of brutality and impunity, their trigger happy acts, corruption and perceived role as the protector of the rich and powerful and the oppressor of the poor and weak. The Minister is responsible for restoring public confidence in the credibility, trust and professionalism of the police force which even the most blinkered officials will acknowledge is extremely low.

There is no short cut in the road to police reformation and redemption. Hard decisions will have to be made and those in power and positions will certainly attempt to resist. Despite all the failed promises and half-hearted attempts to placate the public, civil society and the many victims and survivors of police brutality, we strongly urge the Minister to commit to do the following:

  1. Bring without fear or favour the police perpetrators (including the CPO of Selangor and outgoing IGP Musa Hassan) to justice including for serious criminal charges and disciplinary proceedings that commensurate with the offences;
  2. Set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2004;
  3. Review and make public the standard operating procedures for the use of firearms and custodial detention/interrogation;
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Propose that the Prime Minister and Cabinet publicly apologise to victims and survivors and accept unreserved responsibility for the unlawful actions of the police force, which they have shielded from criticism and reform.

Submitted by Lawyers for Liberty and the family members/ survivors


Lawyers for Liberty is a human rights and law reform initiative that seeks to challenge the many unconstitutional, arbitrary and unreasonable decisions and acts perpetrated by the government, its agencies and other public authorities.

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