Home Civil Society Voices Coronavirus: Stop exposing cops, detainees, judges, court staff

Coronavirus: Stop exposing cops, detainees, judges, court staff


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Eliminating Deaths And Abuse In Custody Together (Edict) notes with horror a report (Free Malaysia Today, 31 March) titled “No masks, so suspect brought to court with garbage bag over head”.

The report is accompanied by a photo with the caption “… taken at one of the courts in Penang”.

The picture shows over three dozen arrestees in lock-up attire, handcuffed to one another, pressing against one another, in a courtroom. Two thirds of the arrestees are not wearing masks.

According to the report, some detainees were brought to courts to be charged with violating the movement control order.

The report also says one detainee had a rubbish bag placed over his head (presumably to protect others) because he had been in contact with a member of the Sri Petaling Tabligh Covid-19 cluster. A rubbish bag!

On 17 March Edict alerted the home minister to take pandemic action to protect cops and detainees. On 18 March Edict called on the public to honour cops since they now have to carry additional burden and risks.

Edict is glad that cops are enforcing, even with arrests, rules to minimise the spread of infection.

Edict is appalled that the home minister has failed to ensure that cops on the ground are protected.

Edict calls upon Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin and Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador to take immediate action to ensure that the arrest and arraignment processes comply with rules to minimise the spread of infection.

It is simply unacceptable to expose police personnel, arrestees, lawyers, members of the judiciary and courtroom staff to avoidable infection risks.

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It is simply unacceptable that those who enforce rules to minimise infection themselves disobey the same rules.

It is simply unacceptable that cops who want to minimise infection are compelled to use rubbish bags because they don’t have masks.

Edict further puts on record our utter and complete disgust with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin. Reports have emerged of Zuraida, attired in precious personal protective equipment, “disinfecting” the streets using a bogus procedure. And she moves about with a large retinue – even including police personnel!

Edict calls upon the cabinet, led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, to censure Zuraida. Ministers who abuse scarce resources and “showcase” bogus procedures are also simply unacceptable.

1 April 2020

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