KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 — Attempts to dissociate a former Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) scholar’s child pornography from similar crimes by convicted child rapist Richard Huckle diminish the severity of the behaviour, said child rights groups.
Commenting on Mara chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s insistence that the two cases should not be linked, they said Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin’s crimes were no less serious simply because he did not rape or sexually molest children.
Huckle and Nur Fitri were both convicted in the UK for the possession of child pornography.
“In both ways, you have children involved and you have extreme cases of pornography. Both have the same ingredients... both have committed a crime,” Suriana Welfare Society for Children chairman James Nayagam said.
“We cannot deny that this is a clear-cut case of a person who has violated children. We cannot say which case is different; they are all linked. Yes, very irresponsible statement.”
Voice of the Children (VOC) chairman Sharmila Sekaran argued that Nur Fitri’s action was still a form of sexual abuse towards children and noted that he possessed depraved images of child pornography prior to his arrest last year.
Nur Fitri was last year found with over 30,000 videos and photographs of child pornography that London police described as “some of the most extreme” materials they have ever seen.
Sharmila said the offence was heinous given that the images were in the worst category of child pornography — those depicting sexual acts — and should be viewed with the appropriate gravity.
“It is splitting hairs. One person rapes; another person watches the rape, keeping a record of it for repeated viewing. It’s still wrong and rightly an offence!” she told Malay Mail Online.
On Wednesday, Annuar said that Huckle’s case should not be in any way linked to Nur Fitri, but did elaborate further on his statement.
In May last year, after Nur Fitri was sentenced to five years’ prison in the UK, Mara reportedly offered the youth a second chance to study at any institutions of higher learning by Mara upon completing his sentence.
It was also reported last June that he had obtained approval to be extradited to Malaysia and was believed to be back in country now.
Nur Fitri’s case has since been overshadowed by that of Huckle, who was on Monday given 22 life sentences for his sexual crimes against impoverished victims aged six months to 11 years, many of them in Malaysia.
Huckle was believed to have sexually abused up to 200 children and 22 of them are reportedly from Christian communities in Kuala Lumpur, where he posed as an English teacher and Christian philanthropist, while one is Cambodian.
UK broadcaster Sky News previously reported that British authorities discovered over 20,000 indecent images of children on Huckle’s computer.