Press statement

Threats of violence against Siti Kasim must not be tolerated

24 July 2017

Lawyers for Liberty are appalled by news reports that lawyer Siti Kasim has received online threats to rape, behead and attack her with acid over her alleged views on LGBT rights and Islam.

Any threats of violence against women, even made in cyberspace or in jest, must not be tolerated in any modern and civilised society. Turning a blind eye to such threatening or bullying behaviour encourages and normalises hostility and violence towards women.

The authorities must act immediately against the perpetrators for making such a threat against Siti Kasim which can be investigated under the Penal Code – sections 506 for criminal intimidation and 509 for word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a person. In addition, section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which prohibits the improper use of network facilities to abuse, harass or threaten any person can be correctly applied in such a case.

It is unacceptable and shocking why the authorities are not taking such threatening and bullying behaviour against women with the seriousness it deserves. For example, we have seen in the past, no action was taken in the cases involving Noor Farida, Ambiga Sreenevasan and Maria Chin.

On the other hand, the authorities have been quick to act against social media comments that are critical or deemed offensive against the government or its interests. Needless to say, such selective and double standard policies can only reflect badly upon the enforcement authorities PDRM and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

We condemn all such threatening and bullying behaviour against women, including those made with a view to suppress women’s right to speak up. Any disagreement on any issues even controversial ones, should be debated and discussed, not threatened or bullied into silence.

Released by:

Melissa Sasidaran

Lawyers for Liberty