KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — In a bizarre turn of events over the weekend, Anis Nur Izzaty Ruslan, 24, was taken into custody by police and her lawyer Siti Kasim was arrested.
This was despite the assertion she was taking refuge with Siti from an allegedly abusive mother.
Although Siti is now free, the questions remain: Where is Anis now, and is she safe?
When contacted, lawyer Rajsurian Pillai confirmed that the police had taken Anis from Siti’s house on Saturday night and brought her to the Kajang Hospital. Siti had last week allegedly halted a psychiatric check on Anis, a police report claimed.
Anis has since been released from the hospital in the “early hours” of Sunday morning, Rajsurian said.
“[Taken] from Siti’s place to Kajang district police headquarters (IPD Kajang), then from IPD Kajang brought to hospital. Released from hospital that Sunday morning itself,” Rajsurian, who is a member of the legal team for Anis and Siti, told Malay Mail.
While Anis’ current whereabouts are unknown, Malay Mail understands that she is not with her family at the moment.
When contacted, Selangor police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Fadzil Ahmat confirmed to Malay Mail that police had previously brought Anis from Siti’s house to Kajang Hospital and that she has since been released from hospital.
In response to several questions by Malay Mail including when Anis was released and who she was released to, Kajang Hospital’s management in an email declined to comment due to the confidentiality of patients’ information.
When asked about Anis’ latest status, Siti told Malay Mail: “She’s trying to recover from the stress and shock.”
But Siti said she was unable to comment further when asked for more details regarding Anis’ current situation.
Episodes leading to the arrest
Here’s a quick recap by Malay Mail of what happened and what claims were made during the bizarre chain of events:
June 21, Thursday — In a Facebook post, Siti wrote of how Anis had reached out to her a few months prior over fears regarding a purportedly “domineering” mother, adding that Anis had then left home and found herself a job.
Siti claimed that Anis’ mother had lodged police reports and told the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) that her daughter was allegedly mentally unstable and that her faith was in question.
Siti also said that Anis had lodged a police report immediately after leaving home as protection, claiming that Anis had gone on June 21 to give a statement to Jais but the event was allegedly an “entrapment” by Jais and the police who were waiting to catch her.
Malay Mail yesterday contacted Jais to seek clarification and confirmation regarding its alleged connection to and role in this case, and is awaiting a response.
June 23, Saturday — Based on two statements issued by the police on Sunday, here’s what the police said transpired on this day:
Selangor police CID chief SAC Fadzil Ahmat said a 24-year-old Malay woman was “rescued” from a condominium at around 9pm, following a June 21 police report by the latter’s mother claiming that Siti had made off with her daughter who was undergoing psychiatric checks at Hospital Kajang.
Fadzil said police personnel who were escorting Anis at the hospital had lodged a report claiming that Siti had barged into the ward despite being stopped by security personnel, adding that the “victim” had refused to cooperate on June 23 when police managed to trace her to Siti’s house and had locked herself in.
“To ensure she did not hurt herself and also others, the police were forced to break in,” he said, adding that the woman was then sent to hospital to complete the delayed checks and also to enable investigators to obtain test results from the doctor.
Following the police reports, the case was classified as falling under the Penal Code’s Section 363 which covers punishment for the kidnapping offence and also Section 186 which covers the offence of obstructing a public servant from discharging public functions.
Kajang district police chief Asst Comm Ahmad Dzaffir Mohd Yusoff said Anis was taken to the Kajang IPD for further investigations after she was “rescued”, adding that Siti then came to the IPD at around 11pm.
June 24, Sunday — Siti was arrested at 12.40am this day at the Kajang district police headquarters under Section 186.
Police reportedly applied for a four-day remand of Siti — who was seen in handcuffs and wearing an orange garment — to assist in investigations, but the Magistrate’s Court rejected the application at around noon. Although Siti was released, Kajang police confirmed that investigations on her under Section 186 would go on.
Ahmad Dzaffir said that the police had acted according to legal provisions under the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code in detaining Siti and her client, refuting speculation that the police did not have the powers to investigate the case that was reported to it and had allegedly acted wrongfully in detaining the duo.
He said the arrests were commonly made for investigations under Section 363 and Section 186.
June 25, Monday — Siti wrote on Facebook that she was scheduled to show up for an identification parade at the police station as part of the police’s ongoing investigation in her case, but later said in a video on Facebook said that she was informed she would not have to appear this day.
In the Facebook video, Siti rubbished the idea that she would even kidnap Anis, also urging the home minister to look into the police’s alleged “high-handed” actions in raiding her house without first seeking clarification from her.
What have others said about this?
DAP MP Lim Kit Siang described Siti’s arrest as “wrongful” and “outrageous” and urged the Pakatan Harapan government to place the formation of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) high on its list of institutional reforms when Parliament convenes next month.
The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which supervises 21 government bodies including the police, expressed “grave concern” on the alleged power misuse in relation to Siti’s arrest. It said it will look into whether the police had followed standard operating procedures in making the arrest and whether allegations of police impropriety in the course of their duty were true.
The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) said Siti’s arrest was made without police adequately and reasonably investigating the facts of the case, adding that arrests before complete investigations can allegedly result in “overzealousness” and violation of the detainee’s rights as seen in Siti’s case.
Suhakam urged the police to stop what it said appeared to be “targeted police harassment” of Siti, arguing that it was not justified or necessary to arrest and detain her “for performing her duty as a lawyer in defence of her client”.
Suhakam also expressed concern over how the rights of Siti’s client who is already an adult were not fully taken into account and that religious enforcement bodies were allegedly able to “influence” the police without the police sufficiently determining the facts beforehand, and which could lead to public apprehension of the existence of “religious policing” in Malaysia.
Suhakam said the public should also be careful not to lodge false police reports, citing the offence under Section 182 of the Penal Code of providing false information with the intent of causing a public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.
Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said he has asked for a comprehensive report from the inspector-general of police on Siti’s arrest.
The Malaysian Bar yesterday said Siti was acting for her client throughout the events, having noted that the lawyer was informed on June 21 that Anis was allegedly brought to the hospital for a medical examination without the latter’s consent.
The Malaysian Bar have urged the police to recognise the role of lawyers, also asking the police to refrain from acting in a way that would harass or hinder them from carrying out their duties.