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Friday, June 30, 2017

Suhakam: Charging lawyer Siti Kasim against UN principles

The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has slammed the charging of a lawyer who had merely carried out her legal duty during a Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department (Jawi) raid on a transgender event.
Suhakam chairperson Razali Ismail said the commission is “dismayed” that lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim has been charged for obstruction of Jawi officers, “ after identifying herself as a lawyer discharging her duties to her clients” during the raid.
“Suhakam cautions that where lawyers are unable to defend their clients for fear of arrest, criminal charges or intimidation, they cannot properly defend people facing violations of their human rights,” he said.
Razali urged the authorities to drop the charge as it is against the United Nations basic principles on the role of lawyers.

On June 23, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court charged Siti under Section 186 of the Penal Code for allegedly obstructing a public servant in discharge of his public functions.
The activist lawyer pleaded not guilty.
The raid occurred during a transwomen event on April 3, 2016 at Kuala Lumpur's Renaissance Hotel, where Siti Kasim was a guest.
The lawyer tried to explain to the officers that the event was a closed-door fundraiser and not a beauty pageant as the Jawi officials had claimed, and was subsequently arrested herself.
[More to follow]

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