Home CLR Opinion Orang Asli Imprisoned For Murder Over Police Custody Death. But There’s More...

Orang Asli Imprisoned For Murder Over Police Custody Death. But There’s More To The Story.

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On the 16th November 2018, news broke about an Orang Asli who has been sitting in jail for over 3 months for murder.

The original Facebook post which was made by lawyer and Orang Asli advocate, Siti Kasim, highlighted several facts. Each more startling and unnerving than the previous.

Here were some key points from her post.

  • The family of the man indicted (aka the OKT – Orang Kena Tuduh) had sought help from a man called Ravi. Siti Kasim only recently stepped in after she became aware of the news.  
  • Prior to Siti Kasim’s involvement, numerous other lawyers were approached. Unfortunately, due to the lack of funds, the family was unable to afford their services.
  • The victim that the OKT was said to have murdered was a foreign worker who lived near the OKT’s home.
  • The man (aka Victim) was actually a habitual peeping-tom. He has been frequently caught spying (read as creepily stalking) the OKT’s niece.
  • Things became more drastic when the victim tried to enter the niece’s room. That was when the OKT apprehended the victim and his family member called the police. The foreigner was subsequently taken away.
  • However, 12 days later, the authorities came back and this time they took the OKT away!
  • Despite telling the OKT’s family that it was just procedure and that the OKT is simply required to give a statement; it seems that the police failed to inform the family that it was actually a murder investigation. 
  • 3 days after the OKT was taken away, the family went looking for him, as there was no news from the police about his situation.
  • The OKT was charged with the murder of the foreign worker – aka the peeping-tom. Apparently, the man had died in police custody.
Lawyer, Siti Kasim and the family of the Orang Asli (aka OKT)

Now, here’s where things get a little muddy. Everything detailed in Siti Kasim’s Facebook post had occurred in August 2018!

Yup, that’s right. It has already been 3 months since the OKT has been charged, yet no documents have been served to him to mount a defense of any kind.

Since his arrest back in August 2018, the OKT has been locked up in the Sungai Buloh prison. His status in a limbo of sorts. 

Once we heard about the case, we, at The CanLaw Report, decided to reach out and dig a bit deeper into the case.

What we found was something more sinister and definitely made us question the people around us and the authorities.

With a little help, the CLR team managed to get in touch with Mr.Ravi – the man referenced in Siti Kasim’s Facebook post.

Mr. Ravi turned out to be Mr. Ravi Ponnan, a local activist and former President of the Malaysia Crime Prevention Association. After discussing with him, we managed to get a meeting with the OKT’s family.

The CLR team interviewing Nur Herman’s family
Here’s what we found out. **

We identified the OKT as a man called Nur Herman Bin Abok. An Orang Asli-descent who is the youngest of 9 siblings.

His father, Abok a/l Hamid, had reached out for help after the arrest of his son. At their wit’s end, they could only hope that NGOs and lawyers would be able to help them with their predicament.

When we sat down with the family, this was what they had to tell us about their side of the story.

So, What Happened?

On the 11th of August 2018, at around 12.30 am, Nur Herman spotted a man peeping through the window of his sister’s house. The window provided a direct view into the room of his niece – who was pregnant at that time.

Reenactment of how the peeping-tom looked into the windows of the OKT’s niece.
The man then decided to be bolder and walk into the house – intent on entering the niece’s room. Witnessing that, Nur Herman was quick to apprehend the man while one of his sisters called the police.

No long after that, 3 officers in plain clothes and in an unofficial car arrived to take the man away.

According to witnesses – which was the whole kampung, as the scene made a huge commotion – the man was whole, healthy and had all his faculties in check when he has taken away by the authorities.

In fact, the peeping-tom physically resisted the police’s attempts to arrest him.

Dia tak nak masuk. Dia keraskan badannya

It had required some aid from bystanders before they managed to put him in the car.

Sidenote: Why was there no door in the house that would have locked the man out?! According to the family, they had a simple life and there were usually no doors as mostly everyone living within the Orang Asli Village were related to one another. But after the incident, the family has since installed a door.

But Who Was The Peeping-Tom aka The Victim? 

According to the family, they only knew the peeping-tom as a man called ‘Ibok’. He was an illegal Indonesian immigrant that had rented out a small piece of their land next to their village to plant crops.

Orang Indon itu sewa tanah dengan ayah saya. Tanam sayur. Tapi kita orang tak tahu dia itu jahat.

‘Ibok’ had originally lived with his wife on the land before she ran away. Only then did the peeping-tom incidents start to happen.

According to Nur Herman’s sister, Siti Aisyah, ‘Ibok’ was a drunkard and abuser.

Dia akan pukul and ikat isterinya! Dia guna rantai besi untuk ikat kaki and tangan isterinya!

When we visited the land in which the peeping-tom was living on, we found beer cans strewn all over.

Beer cans were strewn all over the peeping-tom’s living quarters

The most shocking was the fact that we found a 10-meter metal chain that was attached to the bed-frame inside the hut which Ibok and his wife lived in.

Rusted chain found attached to the bed frame in Ibok’s hut.
Re-enactment of how Ibok’s wife was allegedly chained.

The Aftermath

After the peeping-tom – Ibok – was taken away by the police, there were no updates from the authorities. It later came out that Ibok had died in police custody.

On the 22nd of August at 1 pm, police officers arrived at the Orang Asli village demanding to meet Nur Herman. He was taken away. His family was told that he was only going to be questioned and would be sent back later.

Left: Mr. Abok a/l Hamid; Right: Mr. Ravi Ponnan
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. 

According to Nur Herman’s father, Abok, they were only informed that his son, Nur Herman had already been arrested under S.302 of the Malaysian Penal code for the death of Ibok, the peeping-tom, days after not hearing from the authorities days.

In fact, according to Abok, there was NO information conveyed by the police regarding Nur Herman’s arrest. It was after the family went looking for Nur Herman at the Semenyih Police Station were they told that he had already been transferred to the Kajang Police Station and arrested for murder.

Nur Herman’s father, Abok
The family was furious and frustrated as they were only told that Nur Herman was to be returned home after questioning.

Abok reaction to the police actions;

Diaorng cakap akan pulangkan adik (Nur Herman) tapi tidak. Mereka tipu! Tipu!

Under S.302 of the Malaysian Penal Code;

s.302. Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death.

Sidenote: While the Government has agreed to abolish the death penalty, Nur Herman still faces the possibility of life behind bars.

Since his arrest, Nur Herman has been charged under S.302 of the Penal Code at the Kajang Magistrate Court. At the time when his charges were read out, he had no lawyer representing him. 

As the Magistrate Courts of Malaysia do not have the jurisdiction to hand down sentences for S.302, it’s expected for the case to be elevated to the High Courts of Malaysia.

As for now, Nur Herman will still have to remain in the Sungai Buloh Prison awaiting further developments in his case. Hopefully, with lawyers like Siti Kasim on his side, he might have a fighting chance against the charges.

What do you think about the case and how the police handled it?

 

** As the case is currently an active criminal case fought out in the courts, certain pieces of information have been left out in order to preserve the integrity and also not jeopardize the case.