Memorandum of Protest to the Home Minister
Putrajaya, 6 October 2011
The quest for justice for the police shooting victims at Glenmarie continues due to shocking failure by the police to investigate or take any action on the unlawful killings by the police at Glenmarie on 13.11.2010 including a 15 year old.
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, 15, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22. Although the three victims did not have criminal records, 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.
The police version appears to be inconsistent with the findings of the post-mortem reports which were made public in August 2011. The police had claimed that the victims had been shot dead when they rushed at the police with machetes. This is inconsistent with the post-mortem findings of 45 degree angle bullet trajectory indicating the victims were taken into custody and were kneeling before being shot. Also inconsistent with the police version, two of the victims had bullet wounds at the side of the head. The post-mortem reports were signed by qualified forensic pathologists from Tengku Ampuan Rahimah General Hospital. These findings are enough at law to bring murder charges against all police personnel involved in the shooting.
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 after the shocking statistics of fatal police shootings that have risen 17 fold since 2001 was revealed in November 2010, the Police continue to act in blatant lawlessness as reflected in their failure to commence an independent and effective investigation in response to the police reports lodged by the victims’ families on November 2010 and after the findings of the post-mortem report were revealed in August 2011. The police failure to independently and effectively investigate the shooting demonstrates clearly the culture of impunity and lawlessness that is deeply woven into the practice of the Malaysian police force. This deafening silence poses irreversible threat to the lives and safety of the general public who is vulnerable to being victims of police shooting as a result of uninvestigated misuse of power which goes unpunished.
There is no short cut in the road to police reformation and redemption. Hard decisions will have to be made and those in power and positions will certainly attempt to resist. Despite all the failed promises and half-hearted attempts to placate the public, civil society and the many victims and survivors of police brutality, we strongly urge the Home Minister to commit to do the following:
1) Arrest and charge police officers who were responsible for shooting the victims for murder.
2) Make public apology to the victims’ families for the killing and for defaming the victims as dangerous robbers.
3) Set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2004.
4) Review and make public the standard operating procedures for the use of firearms.
Submitted by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) on behalf of the family of Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 15, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22.