PETALING JAYA, Nov 29 — The family of a young man shot dead on November 13 after being suspected of robbing a petrol station has accused the police of killing him in cold blood.
Muhammad Hanafi Omar, 22, Muhammad Shamil Hafiz Shapiei, 15, and Hairul Nizam Tuah, 20, were gunned down by the police after a reported high-speed car chase in the early morning of November 13 in Glenmarie, Shah Alam.
“The police intentionally shot the three victims,” lawyer Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, who represented Hanafi’s family, told The Malaysian Insider at the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters today.
“All three of them were shot at close range. There were two shots on Hanafi’s right side of his head and one shot in the chest,” she added.
The police report lodged by Hanafi’s kin today follows the police reports lodged by Shamil and Hairul’s families on November 20, who similarly alleged that the police had performed a “gangland-style execution” on the youths.
The police claimed they had shot the suspects in self-defence as they had allegedly rushed to attack the policemen with machetes after the pre-dawn car chase.
Selangor acting police chief Datuk A. Thaiveegan had reportedly defended his officers’ actions by describing the three suspected robbers as “seasoned criminals” who were allegedly involved in at least three armed robberies in Selangor the week prior to their shooting.
The latest youth shootings have roused Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers to demand for newly-installed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar to end indiscriminate fatal police shootings.
The Dewan Rakyat, however, recently rejected an emergency motion by Subang MP R. Sivarasa to debate the Glenmarie shootings.
According to the PKR MP, the motion filed under Standing Orders 18(1) had been rejected in chambers after it failed to fulfil the criteria of being specific, urgent and of public interest.
Sivarasa, however, informed reporters that he had been advised by Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar to raise the matter during committee stage for the Home Ministry.
Today, Sasha Lyna claimed the small size of the gunshot wounds on Hanafi’s body indicated that the shots were fired at close range.
“The size of the gunshot wounds, as seen by Hanafi’s brother who identified the body, were small,” said the lawyer from non-governmental organisation, Lawyers for Liberty.
“If it’s small, it means that he was shot at close range. He was also shot from a higher position,” she explained.
The lawyer also noted that the bullets had exited Hanafi’s body.
“The doctors at the post-mortem told Hanafi’s brother that all the bullets went through his body,” said Sasha Lyna.
Shamil’s and Hairul’s families had earlier noted that the two youths each bore two gunshot wounds on their heads and chests and that no bullets were found in their bodies.
Hairul’s family had also said the trajectory of the bullet wounds on Hairul’s body indicated that Hairul’s shooter had shot him from a higher position.
Today, Sasha Lyna insinuated that the police had a tendency of claiming that suspects possessed machetes during police shootings.
“Every time there is a police shooting and the alleged suspects were there, the police will always claim that there were parangs (machetes) with the alleged suspects. It’s the same thing with Aminulrasyid,” said Sasha Lyna.
Fourteen-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah was shot to death in a high-speed car chase with the police in Shah Alam on April 26 this year.
Then, the police claimed the Form Three schoolboy was a criminal and that he had a machete. His family has disputed these claims.
During the trial of Corporal Jenain Subi, who is charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder of Aminulrasyid, a crime scene investigator told the court, however, that he had found the machete in the car driven by the boy.
Today, Sasha Lyna called for an independent commission to investigate Hanafi’s shooting.
“We are asking for an independent commission to investigate this matter,” said the lawyer.
Sungai Siput MP Dr D. Jeyakumar, who was present with Hanafi’s family today, also reiterated Sasha Lyna’s call for an independent investigation.
“We want an independent panel,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hanafi’s father Omar Abdul Bakar, denied police claims that his son was a criminal.
“He did not have a criminal record. He just squeezed santan (coconut milk) for a living for a year,” Omar told reporters today.
“He (Hanafi) stayed in Kota Damansara with his boss,” added the 57-year-old ex-serviceman.
Omar expressed his dissatisfaction with the police’s explanations on his son’s shooting.
“I want justice,” said Omar, who currently works as a farmer in a village at Kuala Kangsar, Perak.
Besides Aminulrasyid, a second case involving the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Mohd Afham Arin in Johor Baru on October 20 last year has also surfaced after the victim’s mother recently demanded an independent commission to investigate the case.
According to human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), 88 people were killed in police shootings last year.
The NGO also claimed not one police officer has been held accountable in the shootings and that the high number of deaths in 2009 was “alarming”, considering that there were only 13 such cases in the previous two years.