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Prioritise investigation into rape, release women from custody

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The Malaysian Bar is disturbed to hear of reports that in the course of enforcing the movement control order, two Mongolian women were allegedly raped by a police inspector.

It has since been reported that three Mongolian women – the two victims as well as their friend (and translator) – have been placed under an interim protection order, pending further investigations and a hearing in court for a protection order, as provided for under the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (ATIPSOM).

It has also been reported that the alleged perpetrator of the offence has been detained for five days to facilitate investigations for rape under the Penal Code.

It is unclear why the ATIPSOM was relied on in this instance, as this has the potential to shift the focus of the investigation from the alleged rape to the background and status of the three women.

Instead protection could have been sought for these women under the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 as they may be deemed whistleblowers.  This would offer them more protection – particularly from unnecessary inquisition into their status – and would not require them to be further retained in any form of custody.

Care must be taken not to derail the primary offence here, which is the alleged rape of the two women.

There are no limits to criminal investigations, and the Malaysian Bar therefore hopes that the police will spare no effort in pursuing truth and justice in this instance. To this end, the significant and prompt investigative efforts by the police in apprehending the alleged perpetrator is lauded.

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Salim Bashir is president of the Malaysian Bar

This piece is reproduced from here and has been edited for style only

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