Abusing power and humiliating through remands

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QUESTION TIME | Rather public arrests and requests to magistrates for continued remand of suspected offenders, and differential treatment of those detained raise questions aplenty over abuse of power through the humiliation of those who do not even have charges pressed against them.

There seem to be no set rules in terms of the attire they are in, whether they are handcuffed or not, and whether they are physically escorted by arresting officers when they are brought to the magistrate’s court for an extension of their remand.

And then there is the question of whether they should even be remanded in the first place and whether there is an abuse of due process when the police, the MACC or other bodies investigate cases.

Thus many people get remanded for cases, thrown into the lock-up, given lock-up clothes to wear, and appear in lock-up clothes when the remand hearing happens, and if it is a prominent case or person, have their photographs taken under terribly demeaning circumstances in a glare of unwanted publicity.

The pictures and video clips get posted in newspapers, news websites, appear on TV and stay there in digital format for all to see for more or less posterity. And here’s the rub - sometimes these people don’t even get charged in court at all.

Thus you see MPs for instance - usually opposition ones - dragged around in handcuffs, in lock-up clothes and without slippers in full public view. The picture that comes to mind immediately is that of PKR MP Rafizi Ramli in police custody in March 2015, wearing purple lock-up clothes, handcuffed and in bare feet.

Now if police can do that to an elected representative of the people who had not then been charged with a specific crime, they can do that to anybody. Surely Rafizi was not going to run away - why could he not have been permitted to wear shoes and his work clothes in public without handcuffs?...

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