Why treat children like hardcore criminals, asks lawyer

Source: FMT News

There must be a better way for the authorities to handle children who commit criminal offences, says Paulsen. Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen has asked why the home ministry is treating children like hardcore criminals by detaining them under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

He explained that these two laws are too harsh for children and are supposed to be used against serious offenders like terrorists or hardcore criminals.

“This is shocking. Surely there must be a better way for the authorities to handle these children who commit criminal offences. You can charge them under ordinary laws.

“Poca has detention without trial, which means somebody can be locked up for two years and another two years without evidence. It is similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA).

“As for Sosma, even though there is a trial, pending the trial, the child is not able to get bail. This can go on for many years,” he told FMT. Read more

Release all minors detained without trial immediately ― Suaram

Source: The Malay Mail Online

NOVEMBER 7 ― Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) is shocked by the revelation in Parliament that 142 minors were detained without trial under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca) and 17 minors under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma). Suaram strongly condemns the existence and application of laws that permit detention without trial and demand for the immediate release of all minors detained under Sosma and Poca.

Reflecting on the gruesome allegations of torture and abuse suffered by detainees under Sosma and Poca; and the systematic use of solitary confinement for detainees under Sosma, Suaram is shocked that the Malaysian government consider it necessary for minors to be subjected to detention in these conditions under Sosma and Poca.

The government must provide an immediate answer to the public with regards to the condition of detention these minors are subjected to and provide clear answers as to why it was necessary for these minors to be detained under security provisions and not subjected to trial in the Court for Children outlined in Section 83(1) of the Child Act 2001. Read more

159 children among Sosma and Poca detainees, says home minister

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 ― A total of 159 children were among those detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), and the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 (Poca), Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.

In a reply to DAP’s Klang MP Charles Santiago, Zahid said that under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015 (Pota) however, no children were detained.

“Seventeen children have been caught since the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, was gazetted and enforced. As for the Prevention of Crime Act 1959, 142 children were caught, whereas no children were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act,” Zahid who is also deputy prime minister said. Read more

From minors to sexual crime victims: Ensuring justice for vulnerable witnesses

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 ― For victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence, getting the alleged perpetrators to court is only half the battle. But for many, that is sadly where their journey for justice stops.

WCC president Mariam Lim speaks at the launch of the proceedings of the National Consultation on the Rights of Vulnerable Witnesses in Kuala Lumpur July 26, 2017. — Pictures by Choo Choy May

According to Penang-based advocacy group Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), one of its clients had her husband charged with causing hurt after a domestic violence case. However after her case was postponed 11 times over the course of two years, she just gave up.

Another client admitted to being asked questions that “do not make sense” in court. “I was asked about the crime scene: How many kilometres away? How many centimetres?” she was recorded saying in a video on vulnerable victims, compiled by WCC.

With nearly three decades of experience working with women and children who are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, WCC revealed that only around a third of victims would ever see the inside of a courtroom, even with police reports lodged.

For the cases that went into court, almost half would result in a discharge not amounting to an acquittal ― many due to the victims themselves dropping out. In the end, fewer than one in 10 would see their perpetrators convicted, WCC said.

“We were shocked at these findings. Not only were the chances of getting a case into court extremely difficult, but to have victims drop out at the pre-trial or the trial stage seemed an appalling travesty in the justice process.

“It was simply unacceptable,” WCC president Mariam Lim said while launching the proceedings of the National Consultation on the Rights of Vulnerable Witnesses here  yesterday. Read more