Saturday, August 23, 2008

'Those that police arrest are guilty" - that's the Malaysian perception generally..

Across the country hundreds of persons are arrested and detained in police lock-ups for days just "to assist the police in their investigations." And most of the time, hours and hours are just wasted away sitting in those police lock-ups, that are in really bad conditions.

Within 24 hour, the police apply for further remand because investigations not completed. Then another remand for again the same reason. And all this time, the hours spend with the police in connection with the investigation is such a small percentage (if, at all any time was even spend), compared to the total time that they had languished in the police lock-up.

What investigations are involved? Taking of photographs, fingerprints, participation in an identification parade (depends on the offence) and the the recording of a statement. Really, all these things can so easily be completed in a couple of hours - and there really is no reason to arrest and detain anyone for this reasons...

Even those who voluntarily come in to see the police to assist in the investigation are arrested and detained --- why? This what happened to that PKR man when 'he surrendered himself"
at the police station. There was no "surrendered himself" - he voluntarily came in to assist in police investigation.

Mind you, this is just the 'police investigation' stage - and no one should be arrested and detained overnight unless they have failed to comply with reasonable requests by police to attend voluntarily to assist in the investigation, or maybe, if there is some evidence that they may flee and disappear.

Police have obtained a remand order to detain Batu PKR deputy chief Mohd Noor Kamil Abd Samad until Sunday to facilitate investigations into the alleged assault of two photographers during nomination day for the Permatang Pauh by-election on Saturday.

Mohd Noor Kamil, 39, from Taman Melewar in Kuala Lumpur was arrested at the Sentul district police headquarters at 1.45pm on Wednesday when he surrendered himself there.

Camera-shy: Mohd Nor Kamil being led to Bukit Mertajam for remand until Sunday.

Police obtained the remand order at a magistrate’s court here yesterday. - Star, 22/8/2008 -Batu PKR man remanded

As I mentioned, the present system and practice of the police of arresting and detaining persons just to 'assist in the investigations' is BAD - it must stop.

It is becoming even worse today when the Media also reports of these arrests, detentions and remand applications.

Worse still, when it is the police that blurts out to the media this 'news' of arrest, detention, further remand, etc... and worse of all, when they even take time to prepare and issue a Media Statement on this.

Any arrest, detention and remand by the police in the police lock-up is very bad for the person arrested and detained. His reputation and his family reputation goes down the drain - and it is so difficult to regain lost reputation.

Of course, even when later released, and if they go to the media and tell them to inform the public - the media is not at all bothered.

The famous are sometimes lucky in this sense, as we see the media(The Star) carried the call of the 2 PKR State Exco members for an apology, etc..

But, even when it comes to such matters, if it was not during the Permatang Pauh election campaign period, I wonder whether any media will carry this - which would have the effect of regaining bit the lost once-good reputation... After all they are just some 'small' State Exco members..What about all the other "lesser" persons....??

The two Perak state executive councillors who were detained for alleged graft have given the Anti-Corruption Agency and the media 24 hours to apologise or face a RM100mil defamation suit.

Behrang assemblyman Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering assemblyman Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu demanded the apology and retraction of the news articles related to their arrests at a press conference at the State Secretariat here yesterday. - Star, 23/8/2008,Perak exco duo: Retract articles and apologise or we’ll sue media and ACA

Police also will not issue a letter clearing the name of the victim ....

And the Malaysian public do not really adopt the position of that legal maxim "Presumed Innocent Until Proven Guilty"..

As far as many are concerned, if police arrest, then the person must be guilty ...

....and if they are released later, must be there was some ''settlement" - maybe some payment made, etc..

....OR maybe they are guilty, but unfortunately not enough evidence, therefore the police had to let them go...

That is the way many Malaysian think...

That is why police must stop arresting and detaining persons - when they really are still at the investigation stage...

Being deprived of their freedom - and having to spend time in the police lock-ups, as it is today, is really torture.

The conditions of the police lock-ups are far worse that the condition of prison cells, where the convicted serve out their sentence. Police Lock-Up conditions must really be improved to humane standards.

I do hope that this important issue is made priority by the Government and the Pakatan Rakyat.

Anwar, and many other Pakatan Rakyat leaders, have had personal experiences of spending time in police lock-ups - and they should make this a priority area of REFORM....

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