Jingga 13 chairman Fariz Musa freed on charge with participating in street demonstration

Source: The Malay Mail Online

On September 8, 2015, Fariz Musa (second right) had pleaded not guilty to a charge of participating in the the street demonstration which started in front to the Sogo Complex. Pic by The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 2 ― The Magistrate’s Court here today discharged, but not amounting to an acquittal, Jingga 13 chairman Mohd Fariz Abd Talib @ Musa ,47, on a charge with participating in the  #KitaLawan street demonstration two years ago.

Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahid made the decision after he was informed by the prosecution, conducted by deputy public prosecutor Raja Zaizul Faridah Raja Zaharudin, that the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC)  allowed the representation by Mohd Fariz, represented by lawyer Eric Paulsen, for a review of the charge against him.

“As such, the prosecution closes its case against Mohd Fariz,” he said.

Later, when met outside the court, Raja Zaizul Faridah said the representation was made because Mohd Fariz had diabetes and one of his legs had been amputated. Read more

An urgent call for reform in the post-mortem process in custodial deaths (Part 2) — Eric Paulsen

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY ERIC PAULSEN

OCTOBER 25 — This is the second and final part of the opinion piece on custodial deaths by Eric Paulsen. The first part is accessible at this link.

Are Malaysian pathologists trained to ‘think dirty’?

It is important to note that the Shipman Inquiry uncovered amongst coroners and pathologists, an ‘attitude that it will be to everyone’s satisfaction if a cause of death can be found that will enable the coroner to certify the cause of death without further delay, cost or inconvenience’, and ‘it is easy to see how this attitude can become entrenched.’ To counter this, the Inquiry recommended that pathologists should be instructed and trained to ‘think dirty’ — that is, not to approach each death with the expectation that there will be ‘something wrong’ but to keep in mind the worst possibility and actively look out for signs of non-natural death. Read more

An urgent call for reform in the post-mortem process in custodial deaths (Part 1) — Eric Paulsen

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY ERIC PAULSEN

OCTOBER 24 — It has long been established at common law that deaths that occur while a person is in the custody of the state are of particular concern as they occur behind closed doors and involve persons who are exceptionally vulnerable. All such cases must be investigated carefully and thoroughly, and the burden is on the detention authorities to account for the treatment of the deceased.

This is an urgent call for reform of the medico-legal death investigative procedure in cases of custodial death, as police lock-ups, prisons, and immigration detention centres must be a safe place for every human being and should not be turned into a potential crime scene. All such deaths are extremely serious and affect families and society. Custodial death strikes at the very heart of the rule of law and is one of the most heinous human rights violation imaginable. Read more

‘Balloon girl’ will take stand in defence, lawyer says

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — Dance producer Bilqis Hijjas will definitely take the stand after the High Court called for her defence, her lawyer said today.

The court had earlier today reversed a magistrate’s acquittal of the 38-year-old, who was dubbed the balloon girl after she was charged with “insulting behavior” by releasing yellow balloons at a 2015 event attended by the prime minister and his wife.

Lawyer Eric Paulsen said his client will not plead guilty.

“We are disappointed, but you know, promoting free media, justice and democracy certainly shouldn’t be a crime.

‘We are disappointed but nonetheless we will carry on with the defence,” he told reporters after High Court judge Datuk Indera Mohd Sofian Abd Razak allowed the prosecution’s appeal against a lower court’s acquittal of Bilqis of the charge. Read more

Coroner’s verdict on cause of detainee death must be upheld, says lawyer

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Lawyers for Liberty, Eric Paulsen. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa for the MMO.

THE Seremban High Court must uphold the coroner’s court verdict that the death of engineer P. Karuna Nithi, who died in police custody, was caused by multiple injuries, said Eric Paulsen of Lawyers for Liberty.

Paulsen, who is representing the family of the deceased, said the coroner’s court in April last year did not err in rejecting the post mortem report of pathologist Dr Sharifah Safoorah Syed Alwee Al’ Aldrus.

“This is because she (Dr Sharifah) had displayed numerous flaws in her examination and the manner in which she conducted the post mortem.

“In her post mortem report she admitted that Karuna’s liver disease was mild and his fatty liver condition was not serious. So how did he die?” he told The Malaysian Insight. Read more

‘Poca not like ISA, but worse than EO’

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: A human rights lawyer has described the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) as a revamped and more insidious version of the 1969 Emergency (Public Order and Crimes Prevention) Ordinance (EO), which was repealed in 2013.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed was making the wrong comparison when he said Poca was unlike the Internal Security Act in that it was not a draconian law.

“That is not the comparison,” he told FMT. “Poca should be compared to the EO. Indeed, it is worse than the EO because, while it appears that there’s judicial oversight, there is actually none.”

He noted that Poca, like the EO, allows a person to be detained without trial.

Under Poca, he added, a magistrate would have no choice but to give a remand order. He said this was abnormal because remand applications should always be subject to challenges.

“Under Poca, it appears that the magistrate’s court does not have a choice. Whenever there is a application signed by a police officer, the court will have to give the order.”

Yesterday, Nur Jazlan said Poca gave detainees rights that were more secure than those provided under the ISA. Read more

Lock-ups can’t improve without more money, says Suhakam

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has urged the finance ministry to allocate more funds to improve conditions in detention lock-ups in the country.

Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph told FMT that there was little enforcement officers could do without sufficient funding.

“To improve the older lock-ups, you need money to either renovate them or build new ones,” he said.

“Although I know the budget is always tight, I hope that in the coming budget we will see more money being allocated towards this effort.”

Last year, Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam was reported as saying that the majority of the lock-ups in Malaysia were in deplorable conditions. Read more

IGP gets flak over warning to atheists

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: An Islamic think tank has asked Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar to explain his warning to atheists against “creating uneasiness” among Muslims with their activities.

Speaking to FMT, Islamic Renaissance Front director Ahmad Farouk Musa said Khalid was going beyond his jurisdiction. He said the main duty of the police is to maintain order, not to encroach on personal liberties.

“Khalid must explain what ‘creating uneasiness’ means,” he said. “If the atheists are enjoying their freedom to be free of religion without impinging on the rights of others to practise their religions, there shouldn’t be a problem.”

In giving his warning yesterday, Khalid said the Federal Constitution recognised Islam as the official religion and had no provision for atheism. He said police would scrutinise the existing laws to enable appropriate action to be taken should atheists cause anxiety among Muslims.

Last week, federal minister Shahidan Kassim made headlines locally and abroad when he said atheists should be “hunted down”. He claimed they were in violation of the Federal Constitution. Read more

Hold off hangings until death penalty rule revoked, urges LFL

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has called for a moratorium on capital punishments pending amendments to Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Speaking to FMT, LFL executive director Eric Paulsen said he “cautiously” welcomed an announcement that the cabinet had agreed to amend the act to provide judges with discretion in sentencing.

He said the right thing to do now was to hold off all hangings until the amendments are passed. He also called for similar changes to other laws that provide for mandatory death sentences.

Yesterday, in a written reply to a parliamentary question, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman Said said the cabinet was unanimous in agreeing to amend the act and relevant ministries and agencies were preparing proposals for the amendments.

Paulsen said: “This is indeed good news but the government has said this in the past and did not carry through with it. So we cautiously welcome the announcement.” Read more

Many in disbelief that Malaysia’s cops rated best in Asean

Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: Many are in disbelief that the Malaysian police force has been rated the best in Asean, as recently revealed by an international body.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said the ranking was nothing to shout about considering that the yardstick was the police forces of other Asean countries.

“I would certainly question that recognition, and I think that you are not comparing yourself with the standard you aspire to be,” Paulsen told FMT.

He also said it was hard to believe that Malaysia was rated higher than its neighbour, Singapore. Read more