Revoke diplomatic immunity for sexual assault

SHAH ALAM, 3 July: The Selangor Community Awareness Association (EMPOWER) has urged the Malaysian Government to revoke the diplomatic immunity on any sexual assault issue involving its officers.

Its media and communication officer, Yasmin Masidi, said that the government’s previous move of turning around from their initial statement to waive diplomatic immunity is shocking.

She said that the government has also asked for all charges against the accused to be withdrawn and all documents pertaining to the case to be sealed.

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“This is unacceptable, regardless of any “ambiguity” in the negotiation process between the two governments. Does the Malaysian Government perceive sexual assault to be a petty offence that can be waved away?” she stressed in a statement yesterday.

On July 1, The Foreign Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman,said that the case of the Malaysian diplomatic officer charged in New Zealand will be investigated by this country, but the government is ready to extradite the suspect from the country if necessary and revoke his diplomatic immunity.

The identity of the suspect, Rizalman Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, 38, was initially kept a secret but the New Zealand government withdrew the ban after receiving calls from the media there.

Rizalman, who was on duty in New Zealand, was arrested by the authorities there and taken to court the next day on charges of attempted burglary and sexual assault on a woman, with the intention to rape, on May 9.

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The Malaysian Government then did the opposite before sending the suspect back to New Zealand yesterday to be tried, accompanied by a senior army officer from the Ministry of Defence.

In the latest development, EMPOWER also warned the government that the offence of rape and other forms of sexual assault remain a serious concern and should be dealt with firmly and without compromise.

“We also wish to extend our sympathies to the victim of the assault and we stand in solidarity with her, as we do with survivors of sexual assault in Malaysia for whom justice has been elusive.

“The Malaysian police refuse to publicly release statistics on rape, but the numbers are available for all within the Government to see,” she said.

NS

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