Families Of 3 Youngsters Shot Dead By PDRM 6 Years Ago Finally Get Some Justice
In general, six years is a long time to wait for anything.
It is much longer for families waiting for justice for being wronged at the hands of those who were supposed to act as protectors.
That long wait for the families of three youths shot dead in 2010 — allegedly in execution style — by PDRM in the Selangor neighbourhood of Glenmarie is finally over.
Six years ago, 22-year-old Muhamad Hanafi Omar, along with 20-year-old Hairul Nizam Tuah, and 15-year-old Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shapiei were killed in Shah Alam.
Accused of robbing several petrol stations, the police shot them dead claiming the three were armed with machetes and attacked them after they were cornered.
Yesterday, 1 September, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal — in a decision that is surely going to help the families find some form of closure — unanimously ruled that the police and the government are liable for the deaths of the three Malay youths.
It effectively overturned last year's decision of the High Court which dismissed the civil lawsuit against the cops and the government brought by the families of the three boys.
The justice could have been served earlier and the families would have found their closure too had the High Court not ruled that the cops weren't negligent when they shot and killed the three youths
In 2015, High Court judge, Datuk Rozana Ali Yusoff, while dismissing the civil lawsuit against the police and the government, had instead charged the families to pay RM20,000 to the defendants, namely Inspector Azrin Ezahar, Corporal Kamarul Zaman Awang, and Lance Corporal Khairul Azahar Jali.
Because, according to judge Rozana, the three policemen feared for their lives and "had no choice but to open fire to protect themselves."
"The evidence of the three policemen was found to be credible and believable. The three deceased rushed out of a vehicle with parang with intent to attack the defendants (the three policemen)," the learned judge had ruled, upon which the police genuinely feared for their lives and they did not need to wait to be inflicted with grave injuries.
Judge Rozana overlooked the fact that post-mortem reports by the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital contradicted the claims made by the police that the boys were shot while attacking with machetes
The families' lawyer, N. Surendran, had claimed that it was a murder in cold blood.
During a press conference in 2011, he produced a report of the post-mortem examinations on two of the youths, Shamil Hafiz Shafie, and Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah.
The post-mortem report revealed that the police shot them at close range.
“The report also indicates that Shamil was shot on the forehead at a 45-degree angle. That can only happen if the boy was kneeling when he was gunned down," he said.
The police said they shot the youths after they had tried to attack them with a machete.
But Surendran rejected the police version, saying "Shamil had gunshot residues on his shirt. Residue can only be transferred if shots were fired at a close range."
He said Hairul was shot on the left side of his head.
"The police version of what transpired is not consistent with the post-mortem report unless the police have bullets that can curve through the air," Surendran had remarked.
Now, although, the Court of Appeal has ruled that the High Court judge, Rozana Ali Yusoff, had erred in her decision last year, saying, 'The learned judge was wrong that the respondent was not liable", the grieving families' wait for a complete justice is still not over yet
As the three-member bench, which included Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who chaired the three-man panel, Datuk Vernon Ong-Lam Kiat, and Datuk Abdul Rahman Sebli, has ordered the matter to be remitted back to the High Court for the estimation of damages.
Additionally, Omar Abu Bakar, the 63-year-old father of Muhamad Hanafi, is a former army personnel and had refuted claims made by the police, wants his son's name and that of his family to be cleared. The wait for which is only going to be longer.
"I want his name and that of my family cleared as we are not robbers. This is the lingering perception following this case," the former army veteran told Malaysiakini.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, a widow sued a number of police officers, including IGP Khalid Abu Bakar, over her 31-year-old husband's unlawful death while he was in police custody in 2013:
Just a month ago, in August, a 34-year-old construction consultant had her house raided by a team of the MCMC and PDRM officers: