Kiddie porn is child abuse, activists remind MARA

The Southwark Crown Court yesterday confirmed that Nur Fitri was sentenced to 18 months’ jail. — File pic
The Southwark Crown Court yesterday confirmed that Nur Fitri was sentenced to 18 months’ jail. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Children are exploited and abused in child pornography, activists have said in urging for those involved in the production of such smut to be rehabilitated and removed from society.

Dr Hartini Zainudin, managing director and one of the founders of Yayasan Chow Kit, a 24 hour crisis centre for children, said sexual predators have a “disease that you don’t get cured from”, much like other addictions and that they need constant supervision and counselling.

“Show me he’s repented, has his emotions under control and demonstrates that he’s done good for the community, then we’ll talk?

“In the meantime, he’s not coming within 10 feet of any child I know,” Hartini told Malay Mail Online over e-mail.

She was responding to media reports that quoted Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) council member Nazir Hussin Akhtar Hussin as saying the government agency plans to give 23-year-old student, Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin, a “second chance” and to offer him a place in any of its institutions in Malaysia once he serves his jail sentence in the UK.

Nur Fitri, who was studying on a MARA scholarship in the Imperial College of London, one of the world’s top universities, was found to be in possession of over 30,000 videos and photographs of child pornography that London police have reportedly described as “some of the most extreme” materials they have ever seen.

According to a statement by UK police last week, Nur Fitri had pleaded guilty to charges of making, possessing and distributing pornographic images of children prior to the raid on November 20, 2014.

Police who raided his home in London found the him sitting beside a life-sized mannequin of a young boy. He reportedly possessed 601 “Category A” videos and images which depicted abuse involving penetrative sexual acts with children, among the tens of thousands of indecent pictures and videos.

Nur Fitri was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on April 30 in the UK for 13 offences, including possessing and making indecent videos and images of children, as well as intent to distribute the material.

Mandatory rehabilitation

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) advocacy officer Joshua Teh pointed out that the Child Act 2001 makes it an offence to sexually abuse a child by forcing him or her to take part in pornography.

Anyone committing such an offence is liable for a jail term of a maximum of 10 years or a maximum fine of RM20,000 or both.

Both the Penal Code and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 also make it an offence to possess or circulate obscene materials, added the official from the women’s rights group.

“However, there are currently no laws which makes it mandatory for such offenders to undergo therapy and rehabilitation, or for regular therapy and monitoring once they have been released from imprisonment.

“Such provisions should be put in place in order to allow for the safe reintegration of persons who have committed such offences into society,” Teh said.

P.S. The Children president Datin Che Nariza Hajjar Hashim, however, noted that Malaysia does not have a “sound rehabilitation centre” for sex offenders and paedophiles.

“We don’t have enough study here on how they offended, when they are a risk, to whom they are a risk, the warning signs of risk to support the police and probation officers to better manage them in the community here in Malaysia. We do not have specialised expertise here in Malaysia,” she told Malay Mail Online.

The child rights group head added that there needs to be organisations or groups of community volunteers to form a social network around a sexual offender to support their rehabilitation and prevent re-offending.

Hartini pointed out that Malaysia has also signed and ratified the UN Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

“We have therefore said that child pornography is a crime and we will do our best to adhere to protecting children. Well here’s our chance.

“We need to do the right thing by children and ensuring that if and when this student comes back, he is given the intense counselling he needs, the constant supervision, then he earns the right to go back to school,” the child rights activist said.

Child porn exploits children

The activists stressed that children do not have the capability to make the decision to be part of pornography, unlike adult film actors.

WCC’s Teh said child porn is created through their “blatant exploitation and invasion of their privacy” and studies have shown that children involved in pornography suffer from years of overwhelming guilt, shame, and worthlessness; psychological and emotional distress; and interference in emotional and physical development.

“Many of them find it difficult to build normal, meaningful relationships. It is extremely harmful to children, the most defenceless among us, who we as a society have a responsibility to safeguard,” he said.

He added that the production of child pornography is closely linked to the trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation.

Hence, Nur Fitri has, either directly or indirectly, fed into the exploitation of these children by being a consumer of such a large amount of lewd material.

Che Nariza concurred and said by watching and sharing, the individual is part of the distribution of pornography for children.

“The child has no control over the distribution and thus can cause continuous shame and powerlessness as these materials cannot be retrieved once it’s out in the net.

“Regular adult porn there is consensual agreement,” she said.

Sex offenders’ list

The activists have reiterated the need for a sex offenders’ list to identify convicted sex offenders and to help the public be aware if they live near children or schools.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that Malaysia has a registry for all criminals, but not one specifically for sex offenders.

While agreeing that such a list could be beneficial, Teh stressed that there must be a distinction made between severe or serial sex offenders, and low risk, juvenile, or first-time offenders.

Safeguards must be in put in place to prevent abuse and vigilante policing, he added.

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