Press Statement

AG should review the attempted suicide conviction of person with disability

3 February 2020

 

We refer to the news reports that a person with disability in Kuala Terengganu was convicted under section 309 of the Penal Code for attempting to commit suicide and sentenced to six months imprisonment. It should be noted that he was unrepresented by a lawyer during the court proceeding.

 

The discretion to prosecute must be exercised properly and in accordance with the circumstances of the case. We are perplexed as to how this case was prosecuted and tried when it is clear there is no public interest to be served by prosecuting a person who is clearly in dire need of assistance and such travesty can only worsen his situation.

 

Further, this prosecution conflicts with the government’s announcement in October 2019 of plans to decriminalise attempted suicide this year. The proposal is currently being studied by the Attorney General’s Chambers.

 

We also note that the prosecution was conducted by a senior police officer instead of a Deputy Public Prosecutor. We urge that this practice of prosecution conducted by senior police officers be reviewed in order to prevent the recurrence of such unwarranted prosecution.

 

In the interest of the accused person and the larger public interest, we therefore call upon the Attorney General to immediately review the case and refer the matter to the High Court so that the conviction and sentence can be quashed.

 

Issued by,

Melissa Sasidaran

Director

Lawyers for Liberty