Sunday, November 27, 2005

Police Abuse MMS: Change Focus?

Have investigations into the alleged police abuse ala Abu Ghraib that made headlines just a couple of days ago with the help of technology changed its focus? Is the policewoman in the infamous MMS clip now exonerated from any wrongdoing? Will the police now hunt only for the person who recorded the video clip? The Malaysian Police Force once again shows its 'amazing 'abilities in solving crimes.

Police to go after person who filmed naked woman

KUALA LUMPUR: Who shot the scenes? This is the crux of police investigations into the controversial video clip showing a naked Chinese woman doing ear squats while in police custody.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Musa Hassan said whoever took the video clip - whether from the force or a civilian – would be charged under the Penal Code with insulting the modesty of a person or intruding into the privacy of a woman.

The offender can be fined or jailed up to five years or both.

The 70-second video had made the rounds via the multimedia messaging service (MMS) over the past week.

The clip, depicting the nude woman doing ear squats in front of a policewoman at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters, caused national outrage and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has called for an immediate probe into the incident, with no cover-ups.

"It is the perpetrator behind the video clip whom we are after and not the policewoman, who was carrying out a routine check," said Musa. (emphasis mine)

"We will not be lenient, especially if it involves police personnel," he added, declining to comment on the woman who was forced to do ear squats.

Musa also said a special team under his supervision had interviewed a number of people regarding the incident.

In Kepala Batas, DERRICK VINESH reported that North Seberang Perai OCPD Asst Comm Mazlan Lazim as saying that the police should continue strip-searching suspects.

ACP Mazlan said it was an effective way to ensure that no foreign object is brought into the police lock-up, adding that in the past, some suspects had tried to hide cigarettes, pills, matchsticks and razor blades in their private parts.

"The video clip should not stop police officers from carrying out their duties," he said at a police DeepaRaya open house at the Taman Bakti children's home here yesterday.

He added, however, that the strip search must be done in an "appropriately and holistic" manner.

On the ear squats, ACP Mazlan said, in some cases, simple exercise steps and corporal punishment were carried out to ensure the suspects stretched out their arms and legs to ascertain there were no hidden items.

He said women officers usually strip-searched female suspects while the men did the same to male suspects.

Is the police trying to tell us their 'routine' (of ordering suspects to strip naked and do ear squats) absolutely right and not wrong in anyway at all? Is the police trying to tell us the only person who is guilty in this whole scandal is the person who recorded the video clip and no one else? Will we continue to live in fear of wrongful prosecution and abuse either physically, emotionally or even both? Will this matter just be swept under the carpet and die of a premature death since the local media is slowly but surely pushing this story further away from the front few pages of the newspapers? A friend of mine who is a Chinese national tells me his countrymen are already boycotting Malaysia. It is about time an independent body is formed to investigate this matter. It is obvious the police cannot be trusted in continuing this investigation. Will justice prevail in the end? My hopes of seeing a brighter Malaysia is fading fast. Let's pray something constructive is done before I lose all hope.

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