Government settles with ‘nude squat’ woman

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The government has agreed to compensate the woman who was videotaped performing nude squats in a Petaling Jaya police station six years ago.

A settlement was reached between the government and Hemy Hamisa Abu Hasan Saari, 28, at the Kuala Lumpur high Court today.

However, the amount agreed upon by the government, the constable who recorded the video and the mother of three who had initially sought RM10 million in damages when she filed her civil suit, was not disclosed.

The widely-circulated 2005 video had embarrassed the police and resulted in a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) which called for the practice of stripping detainees and forcing them to perform squats a violation of human rights and Islamic principles.

Hemy, who was not present at court today, had sued in 2005, claiming that she was publicly humiliated by the video that was recorded while she was held for drug possession.

The verdict of the narcotics charge will be known on August 8 in the Petaling Jaya Magistrate’s Court.

“The constable who recorded the tape and distributed it was irresponsible and had caused her much humiliation. She is glad with the settlement and wants to continue on with her life,” said Hemy’s lawyer Baljit Singh Sidhu.

Hemy was arrested just after midnight on June 29, 2005, by narcotics police.

She was then told to strip by Lance Corporal Wan Zawati @ Zalina Wan Ismail and perform nude squats, said to be a method to dislodge items concealed in the body of detainees.

The first defendant in the suit, Constable Mohd Dzulfatah Saari, recorded it on his handphone through a window into the room without Hemy’s knowledge.

But the video was then leaked and widely circulated via handphones and the Internet.

Although the government said that it would ban the practice following the RCI’s recommendations, two Singaporean nationals were subjected to nude squats in June this year after they had crossed the Johor border without going through immigration.

They had claimed that they drove past the checkpoint as there was no officer manning their lane.

The home ministry is still probing the diplomatic incident, which has seen two immigration officers suspended so far.


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