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Commission slams cops for forcing
woman to do nude ear-squats
By B. Suresh Ram (From Sun2Surf Web Edition of Tuesday, 24 Jan 2006)
KUALA LUMPUR: The commission of inquiry into the nude ear-squat incident has slammed the police for forcing the woman in the infamous video clip to perform the ketuk ketampi.
Its 318-page report, made public on Monday, said the way the woman was treated was "improper", "haram under the Syariah principles" and a "violation of human rights principles".
It recommended that the police end the practice immediately as it is degrading and humiliating.
In its place, it has proposed a "code of practice of body searches" be drawn up and legislated.
It came to this conclusion as there are no provisions in the Inspector-General's Standing Order (IGSO), OCPD's Permanent Order, Lockup Rules and any legislation permitting a detainee to be stripped and to do the ketuk ketampi in the nude, nor was this action a standard police practice.
In addition, the commission said asking a female detainee to do the ketuk ketampi in the nude has been indiscriminately practised by the police.
Further, the conduct of asking detainees to do nude ear squats is an affront to these provisions (IGSO, OCPD's Permanent Order, Lockup Rules and any legislation), and also violates the very essence of human conscience, the commissioners said.
The commission also said that the few incidents where drugs were recovered as a result of ketuk ketampi do not justify such a procedure.
"The conduct of the body search where the victim was made to perform the ketuk ketampi in the nude is haram because of the unnecessary revealing of the aurat and a violation of one's dignity," the report said.
It added medical experts confirmed the ketuk ketampi is not an effective method to recover foreign objects as the act of standing after squatting nullifies the effect of the latter.
Furthermore, such an act violates Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it is tantamount to inhuman or degrading treatment.
The report also said subjecting the detainee to such treatment is also a breach of Principle 1 and 6 of the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.
"To subject the woman to such a body search is inhumane and undignified. She felt humiliated and angry. It is like stripping away one's dignity. Human dignity is inviolable. Hence it must be respected and protected."
In its conclusion, the report also criticised the police for an overall lack of publicly accessible information on Standard Operating Procedures of the Police, the precise scope of its powers over detainees, its method of internal governance as well as recourses available to those who wish to make complaints against police officers.
"This deficiency points towards a lack of transparency and accountability of the police to the public not just in terms of bodily searches carried out in detainees but also in its very function as law enforcer and peace keeper of the nation," the report said.
It noted that many such grievances on the police had been addressed by the report of the Royal Commission on the Police Force.
However, despite this, the report said the police remains resistant to change and insensitive towards the most fundamental of human rights and dignity.
"We urge that the recomendations made in this report and the Royal Commission Report be measured out and implemented," the commission said.
The report listed 31 recommendations on procedures for body searches (see graphics).
The issue was made public late last year by DAP's MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok, after the video clip of a nude woman detainee made to do ear-squats was revealed in Parliament lobby