Malaysiakini News

EAIC and Suhakam express concern over Siti Kasim's arrest

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The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) will launch a probe into whether the police have followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) in arresting lawyer Siti Kasim recently.

In a statement today, EAIC chairperson Aziz Rahim said it views with "grave concern"  allegations of police impropriety and the misuse of power in the incident yesterday.

"The EAIC will be looking into the matter to determine whether the police had followed the SOP in affecting the arrest and whether there is any truth in allegations of police impropriety in carrying out their duty and function.

"This is in line with the provision of Section 28 of the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission 2009 whereby the commission may commence its own investigation since the matter is of significant interest to the public," said Aziz.

Siti was arrested early yesterday morning for alleged obstruction after police broke into her home to "rescue" her client who had been taking shelter there.  

The police report was lodged by her client's mother.

Siti's client had denied the contents of the police report, claiming that she had to deal with an overly-controlling mother and had sought refuge at the lawyer's home.

Siti was released yesterday after the Kajang Magistrate's Court dismissed the police's application for a four-day remand order against her. 

Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) said Siti Kassim appear to be the victim of "targeted police harassment" and there was no justification to arrest her for performing her duties as a lawyer. 

"The arrest and detention contravene UN's Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers and the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in that the police officers appeared not to have discharged their functions in full appreciation of and respect for human rights," said Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail.

He said it would appear that the police also did not fully take the rights of Siti Kassim's client to account and that the Selangor Religious Department (Jais) was able to influence the police into acting against her.

"(This was done) without the police sufficiently determining the facts beforehand, that can lead to a situation where people will be apprehensive that there is religious policing in the country," he said. 

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