A four-minute film which depicts the story of a citizen tortured while in police custody should have impelled the authorities to launch an investigation of the police conduct – to rid it of perpetrators of this heinous crime of torture within its midst.
The police, as frontline personnel, are expected to uphold and protect the values of our nation, the rule of law and adhere to our established laws and standards.
Instead, they raided the office of the Freedom Film Network and the home of the cartoonist Amin Landak – and hauled the network’s producer Anna Har and Amin for police ‘investigations’. This is intimidation and persecution of persons who blow the whistle on unlawful conduct.
Hakam condemns such reprisals – especially in the context of an increase in custodial deaths, some of which have been proved to be the result of police brutality and torture.
It is about time the police are educated on the fundamental values of a democratic society functioning under the rule of law and held accountable for violating the constitutional right to freedom of expression and speech and liberty – and, as in this case, for stultifying artistic freedom in Malaysia.
Unless we address human rights violations of torture as depicted in the film, our country will be soon ranked amongst those countries that defile with impunity human rights, good governance, accountability and transparency.
It is for this reason that Hakam reiterates its call for the formation of the long-delayed independent police complaints of misconduct commission (IPCMC), which will safeguard police wellbeing and enhance police professionalism and accountability.
Dato Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar is president of the Hakam