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Maisara Amira (front row, second from right) surrounded by her lawyer (on her right) her father and civil society group representatives during a press conference held regarding her allegation that a police officer had threatened to rape her during an interrogation. — TRP pic by Daniel Chan
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KUALA LUMPUR, May 12, 2015:
The call for an independent probe, into the allegations made by Maisara Amira regarding rape threats she received from a special branch officer from Dang Wangi police station, was supported by civil society groups today.
Applauding Maisara for coming forward, these groups said it was a serious allegation that needed to be probed with transparency.
Women’s Aid Organisation member and former executive director Ivy Josiah said the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) was well equipped to investigate the case in the form of Bukit Aman’s D11 unit.
Thus, she urged for D11 (sexual crimes, domestic violence and child abuse investigations division) to step in and speak up on the issue.
“It’s been 10 years since the Royal Police Commission was created, and I was a member of it.
“The most important recommendation by the commission was that we must set up an independent police commission.
“If that exists, I think Maisara and her father would be confident that investigations will be carried out.
“We also urge the D11 special department we have to come forward to show an interest on the case and investigate independently,” she told reporters at a press conference today by Empower.
Tenaganita echoed similar sentiments, saying the form of harassment allegedly used by the officer was something that society needed to get rid of.
“This form of harassment is not new and will continue to happen if there is no check and balance system.
“Tenaganita has dealt with cases where our migrant women had to give police sexual favours in order to escape arrest or detention.
“We’ve also handled a case where a three-year-old refugee child was raped and when we brought her for investigation, the officer said ‘patutla kena rogol, cute muka dia’ (no wonder she was raped, she’s cute).
“I think people accept abuse of police powers as normal and that is dangerous.
This acceptance and expectation for it to happen is what makes it dangerous,” said Tenaganita programme officer Liva Sreedharan who was also present at the press conference.
Liva added without an independent police commission that investigates these forms of harassment, Malaysia would never be safe.
To Maria Chin Abdullah, apart from an independent body, the investigation itself should be done transparently and with accountability.
“The most important thing in this case — where abuse of police power involved sexual harassment and rape threats — is the police have to answer to it.
“Police are always there to say they want to end violence against women and yet they themselves are perpetrating violence against women.
“We really need the police, and the Inspector General of Police in particular, to deal with this issue of police using violence,” said the Bersih 2.0 chairman.
She said “retraining” was also needed to educate police officers on ways to deal with violence cases that affect women.
“Women’s groups have over the years been training the police, even those with desk jobs, on the issue of handling violence cases involving women.
“Looks like the training has not gone into their heads. So retraining has to happen, otherwise they will treat women vilely and think using rape threats and harassment is okay,” she said.
Maisara, 21, the only female among 23 youth arrested in connection with the May Day rally, alleged that a police officer threatened to rape her during an interrogation on the day she was released on May 5.
Having lodged a police report over the matter at the Petaling Jaya headquarters on Friday, May 8, her lawyers were seeking an independent investigation into Maisara’s allegation.
They said today, they will not cooperate with any investigating officers from Dang Wangi, where she was detained and interrogated.
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