September 1, 2017
L4L is concerned about the criminal charges pending against Malaysian lawyer Siti Kasim.
on 3 April 2016, the Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) carried out a raid on a private event held by a group of members of the transgender community. Siti Kasim, a lawyer and human rights defender was present at this event in her capacity as lawyer and, in that capacity, questioned the legitimacy of the raid since the religious authorities conducted the raid without a warrant and were not accompanied by the police, as required under Malaysian law. She was subsequently arrested for “criminal intimidation” and “obstruction of a civil servant”. After having been released, Siti Kasim initiated civil proceedings for unlawful arrest. Shortly after doing so, she was informed that criminal charges would be brought against her for obstructing a civil servant. If convicted, Siti Kasim faces up to two years in prison, a maximum fine of RM10,000 (USD 2,331) or both.
L4L is concerned about the fact that Siti Kasim is being prosecuted for facts which amount to (and do not go beyond) the legitimate exercise of her duties as a lawyer. Moreover, the criminal prosecution of Siti Kasim appears to be connected to the fact that she initiated a civil action for unlawful arrest.
L4L expressed concern about the criminal prosecution of Siti Kasim in a letter to the authorities and will continue to monitor the situation.