NGOs condemn use of repressive defamation laws to silence rights defender

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The undersigned civil society organisations condemn Kangar police chief Wari Kiew’s act of purportedly filing a police report against Sevan Doraisamy, the executive director of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), for defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act.

The authorities’ move is seen as a form of intimidation and reprisal against human rights defenders who in this case were in good faith supporting and assisting victims of alleged wrongful arrest and torture submit a complaint to the national human rights commission (Suhakam), followed by a media conference which publicised the victims’ allegations

The use of repressive criminal defamation laws, such as the above, should be repealed as it is clearly a violation of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech, which is guaranteed under Article 10 of our Federal Constitution.

We call on the Kangar police chief to withdraw his report and submit to an investigation by Suhakam to be cleared of any wrongdoing rather than using strategic-lawsuits-against-public-participation tactics against whistleblowers.

It is also in this regard that a credible and independent independent police complaints commission is essential to investigate any alleged violations and misconduct by the police.

Centre for Independent Journalism

Endorsed by:

  1. Freedom Film Network Malaysia
  2. Empower Malaysia
  3. Pusat Komas
  4. Sisters in Islam
  5. Kryss Network
  6. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
  7. Beyond Borders
  8. Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Prohama)
  9. Sinar Project
  10. North South Initiative
  11. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak)
  12. Aliran
  13. Justice for Sisters
  14. Bersih 2.0
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Santana
Santana

First time a public servant threatening a defamation suit against the public for bringing to light abuse of power. Despite of so many calls to act against abuse of police power nothing has been done. I suggest all the ngo’s mobilise public support & pressure the igp to take action against perpetrators in accordance with existing disciplinary rules while waiting for ipcmc to be passed by parliament.