Lawyers for Liberty is gravely concerned over the shooting to death of three alleged suspects by police during the early hours of Saturday 13th November 2010 at Glenmarie, Selangor.
The dead were Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 16, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22. Although one of the dead persons was a sixteen year old boy, acting Selangor police chief Datuk A.Thaiveegan has made the incredible claim that all the dead were “seasoned criminals”.
The police allege that the dead suspects were part of a gang known as “Geng Minyak” which preyed on petrol stations. They further allege that the suspects when cornered rushed at the police with machetes and that the police shot them all dead in self-defense. We find this story by the police to be quite unbelievable.
If the suspects were only armed with machetes and not firearms, why was it necessary to shoot all of them dead? Were any warning shots fired? It beggars belief that men armed with machetes would rush into a hail of bullets.
We note that there is disturbing similarity in the justification given out by police after almost every fatal police shooting in recent memory. In almost all cases, police claim that the suspects fled and police gave chase. The suspects then attacked police and the police opened fire killing all instantly. No suspect in such situations ever seems to survive. Subsequent to the shooting police claim to have discovered weapons in their vehicle and accuse the dead of being involved in all sorts of crime. Of course, by then none of them can defend themselves.
Even 14 year police shooting victim Aminulrasyid Amzah was accused of being a parang wielding criminal. This standard police version which is trotted out after every shooting is extremely improbable, to say the least.
It should be noted that international policing norms require that firearms only be discharged to protect life and that clear warnings be given with adequate time to comply. Are these rules being observed and complied with by the Malaysian police force? We seriously doubt it, going by previous cases.
We also note that the authorities continue to refuse to make public even the police guidelines on discharge of firearms. Why all this secrecy?
We call for an immediate independent investigation into this latest shooting, with the findings made public. We reiterate the call for a Royal Commission to investigate all police shootings over the past decade.
We call upon the police force to adhere to international guidelines on policing and to eschew all unlawful actions in the name of crime prevention.
LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri