Weekly Highlights

Minor raped while detained in Miri lock-up!

Police are investigating reports that a 16-year-old girl was allegedly raped in a Miri lockup last week.

The teenager who was detained by police during a suspected gambling raid, claimed to have been raped by a male inmate somewhere between 4-5 am on the 9th of January, 2021.

Member of Parliament, Kasthuri Patto has called for an immediate investigation into the incident.

“This is horrifying as first and foremost there is no place for a child in a lock-up in a police station. And the team that conducted the raid should have known that as it ought to be in the SOP when detaining children”, the Batu Kawan MP said in a statement yesterday.

Patto also questioned how the officers on duty did not notice the alleged rapist missing from his cell.

To make matters worse, Sarawak Police Commissioner Aidi Ismail dropped a bombshell when he revealed that the closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) in the Miri Central Police Station did not have a recording function and can only be monitored by the personnel on duty.

What good is a CCTV if it does not have a record, playback and storing function in addition to audio as well? I hope PDRM has an answer for this.” – Kasthuri Patto

The matter of non-functioning CCTV’s was highlighted over ten years ago, when former Sabah state secretary Tan Sri Simon Sipaun recounted his experience with suspicious deaths of inmates.

According to Sipaun, the official explanations rarely tally when inmates die in detention of suspicious deaths.

“You’d think it should be easy enough to find evidence indicating the cause of death, but often, crucial evidence is not forthcoming. For example, if there is supposed to be a camera at the police station where a death had occurred, it would either be missing or not working!” said Sipaun during an interview with Martin Vengadesan.

While Patto welcomed the assurance by the Sarawak police chief that a thorough investigation would be conducted, she has still called for a nationwide audit on CCTVs placed in police lock-ups.

“With a total of more than RM16 billion for the Ministry of Home Affairs in the 2021 national budget and only RM8 million allocation for PDRM police stations and “pondok polis” the words ‘camera’ or ‘CCTV’ does not appear anywhere in the budget at all.

This is truly disheartening how all police lock-ups will be equipped with functioning CCTVs in them to protect the police force from baseless allegations and to uphold the honour and dignity of our men and women in blue but also to reveal dark deeds by dark hands including abuses within the lock up, such as torture, rape and death”, says Patto.

Patto also took the opportunity to call attention to the importance of an IPCC bill.

“This incident itself, the rape of a minor held in police lock-up should have rocked the nation, just 9 days into 2021 and jolted Malaysia in igniting the conversation again of how critical it is to have the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) bill to be tabled in Parliament to be debated and passed into law.”

Patto concluded her statement with some strong words to those in power.

“To the Prime Minister, Home Minister, the Inspector General of Police, and the Sarawak Police Chief – if heads do not roll on this incident, then you have failed to safeguard the life of a child.”

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