Siti Kasim sues Jawi, 14 officers over unlawful arrest, imprisonment in transgender event raid
BY IDA LIM
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 ― Lawyer Siti Kasim has sued the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jaw) and 14 of its officers for compensation due to their alleged wrongful arrest and illegal detention of her during its 2016 raid of a private fundraising dinner involving transgenders and featuring a beauty pageant theme.
Siti’s lawsuit was due to Jawi’s actions of allegedly wrongfully arresting and unlawfully confining her on April 3, 2016 following the raid, which she said amounted to false imprisonment, misfeasance of public office, and denial of her constitutional rights to personal liberty and to be told why she was detained.
In the statement of claim for the lawsuit, Siti traced the chronology of how the raid had unfolded at the April 3, 2016 private fundraising event which carried the theme of “Miss World” and which she had attended as a lawyer.
During the raid, Siti said 14 Jawi officers had at around 10.30pm blocked the hotel ballroom’s exits and barred all those present from leaving the room where the event was held.
The two Jawi officers leading the raid were named by Siti as Akmal Nadzim Abdullah and Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali.
As a result of Jawi officers’ actions in the raid, Siti said she suffered a loss of her freedom for about four hours, as well as nervous shock, insult and mental anguish.
Siti said she was merely carrying out her duties as a lawyer during the raid, and had not obstructed Jawi officers from carrying out their duties or committed any wrongdoing, further asserting that Jawi has no jurisdiction or investigation powers over offences under the Penal Code.
Siti said she was unlawfully deprived of her personal liberty for four hours (10.30pm on April 3 to 2.30am on April 4), noting that she was not told of the offences that she and her client were arrested for, while also highlighting Jawi’s powers only extend to Shariah offences.
She also claimed that Jawi officers as public officers had abused their office, alleging that the raid was carried out in a high-handed and oppressive manner.
Siti’s lawyer Surendra Ananth confirmed that the lawsuit was filed this April 1, saying that this was necessary as there is a three-year limitation period that requires lawsuits against public officers to be filed within that period.
In the lawsuit filed by the law firm Saha & Associates, Siti named 19 respondents, including the 14 Jawi officers and Jawi’s chief federal territories religious enforcer, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (Maiwp), Jawi and Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof in his capacity as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of religious affairs.
Other than Akmal Nadzim and Siti Nor Jihan, the other Jawi officers named are Farah Wahida Zulkiflee, Ruzaimie Mamat, Mohd Hasmizi Mohd Hassan, Mohd Shahrizan Yaacob, Mohd Khairuddin Mohd Noor, Rosyaimi Affendi Ruslan, Ahmad Naziz Lahori, Mohammad Izehar Md Amin, Mohd Faizal Mustapha, Mohd Fikri Abu Mansor, Mohd Faizal Roslan and Mohamad Bukhori Ahmad.
Surendra confirmed that Siti had on June 14 filed for the hearing of this civil lawsuit against Jawi to be stayed or deferred until the end of a related criminal court case.
Noting the ongoing criminal proceedings, Surendra explained why the stay application was filed: “The issues and facts raised in the civil suit is similar to that in the criminal case. It would be better to await the outcome of the criminal case first to avoid potential conflicting findings of facts.
“It is of course Siti’s position that even if the criminal case is determined against her, she can still succeed in the civil suit as we have a second argument that the Jawi officers had no jurisdiction to arrest her for a federal offence.”
The hearing of the stay application was on September 3, and High Court judicial commissioner Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar will deliver her decision on October 9 on whether to wait for the criminal case to be completed before hearing Siti’s lawsuit against Jawi.
The criminal case is over Siti’s alleged obstruction of public officers during the Jawi raid, with Surendra confirming that it is currently at the prosecution stage with one witness remaining.
Siti Kasim was discharging her duties as a lawyer, says Bar
Malaysian Bar president George Varughese says lawyers must be allowed to advance a client’s rights without obstruction, impediment or fear of prosecution.
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Bar says Siti Kasim was only discharging her professional duties as a lawyer at a transgender event last year which was raided by officers from the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi).
Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said Siti Kasim had been present at the function in her capacity as an advocate and solicitor for the event’s organisers and participants.
“She identified herself as a lawyer and inquired about the basis for the raid.
“As such, she was discharging her professional duties as a lawyer at the time that the alleged offence was said to have been committed,” he said in a statement today.
23 June 2017
Siti Kasim to pursue lawsuit against Jawi
June 23, 2017
KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim says she will continue her lawsuit against the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) for raiding a transgender event at a hotel here last year.
“Most definitely I will continue my action against them,” she told reporters after posting RM3,000 bail for her charge of obstructing a Jawi enforcement officer, Siti Nor Jihan Saleh @ Md Ghazali, from discharging her duty.
Earlier, Siti Kasim claimed trial at the Magistrate’s Court on the charge, made under Section 186 of the Penal Code.
When asked if she had received the names of the Jawi officers who took part in the raid on April 3 last year, she said the names had been given to her.
The High Court had on June 13 ordered the government to provide the officers’ names to Siti Kasim within 14 days, following an application she made.
13 June 2017
Court orders Jawi to give details of officers in transgender event raid
The High Court has given the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) 14 days to release details of its officers involved in arresting lawyer Siti Zabedah Kasim during a raid on a transgender event in April last year.
Lawyer Surendra Ananth said the decision was made by Justice Faizah Jamaludin in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, who granted Siti’s application in chambers this morning.
“The judge has ordered the federal government to provide the names, positions and particulars of the enforcement officers involved in the arrest within 14 days,” he told Malaysiakini.
Surendra said the application was related to his client’s intention to file a suit against Jawi over her arrest for allegedly holding a beauty pageant at Renaissance Hotel on April 3 last year.
“The issue is that we don’t have the names of the officers involved.
“So this (application) is a pre-action discovery in order for us to proceed with the suit,” he said after the decision was delivered in chambers by Justice Faizah.
1 Nov 2016
Lawyer sues Jawi for raid on transgender event
1 Nov 2016, PM 1:25 (Updated 1 Nov 2016, PM 3:22)
KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Siti Kasim has taken the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) to court to compel the department to name the religious officers involved in a raid at a transgender event.
Siti was subsequently arrested on April 3 at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
In the originating summons filed by Mark Law Chambers on Oct 20, Siti urged the court to order Jawi to provide her with details of the said officers.
She wants their names, identification numbers and positions held.
Siti also wants copies of any police reports lodged against her, copy of arrest report and any warrant which gave the religious department the authority to carry out the raid and arrest her.
The activist disclosed in the affidavit that her lawyers wrote to Jawi on September 14 requesting those details as she wanted to proceed with legal action against them.
Siti’s affidavit alleged that the sudden appearance of Jawi officers at the event caused chaos. “They raided the event. They did not explain the reason for the raid.”
She added that no arrest warrant was produced and that the Jawi officers were not accompanied by police.
One religious officer allegedly told Siti it was an “offence” to organise the transgender beauty contest.
“The officer could not cite the law the event had violated,” she said.
She told the Jawi officers the event was a closed-door affair but, “they started shouting at me and at others in the crowd”.
She was then taken to the Dang Wangi police station.
Malay Mail Online
JAWI raids transgender ‘beauty pageant’ for breaking fatwa
KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The Federal Territories Islamic Department (JAWI) raided a dinner by trans women last night that hosted a so-called beauty contest on grounds that it violated a fatwa against beauty pageants, a lawyer said.
Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim, who attended the closed-door function at an upscale hotel here, said the religious authorities have also detained the event’s transgender organiser.
“The officer told me that it’s against the law to have a beauty contest — it’s ‘haram’ in Malaysia, based on a fatwa,” Siti told Malay Mail Online today.
“It’s not a real beauty pageant, it’s a show,” she added.
She said about 10 JAWI officers, together with the media, came to the hotel at about 10pm yesterday and prevented people from leaving the dinner that had about 200 transgender guests.
According to the lawyer, the religious authorities did not have a warrant and were unaccompanied by the police.
Siti said she called the police and that after they came, the guests were allowed to leave. However, JAWI officers took her and the event organiser to the Dang Wangi police station.
According to Siti, JAWI officers later denied at the police station that she was under arrest, but accused the event organiser of organising a beauty contest that was against the 1996 religious edict, which has been gazetted as law, prohibiting Muslim women from joining beauty pageants.
“If they say these people are not women, then why are they coming in?” Siti questioned.