Take Action for Siti Kasim
On 23 July 2017, Siti Kasim lodged a police report in Kuala Lumpur against a man who called, on an online platform, for her to be killed, leading dozens of his followers to make death, rape and acid attack threats against the human rights defender.
Siti Kasim is a human rights lawyer, as well as an indigenous and LGBTI rights defender. She is a council member of the Malaysian Bar’s human rights committee and the co-deputy Chair of the Committee on Orang Asli rights. She has defended the Orang Asli indigenous communities fighting against human rights violations resulting from mining and logging activities on their lands in Peninsular Malaysia.
On 23 July 2017, Siti Kasim filed a police report at the Sentul police station, Kuala Lumpur, after several threats were published against her online. According to the human rights defender, the first threat was published online on 3 July 2017 along with an article misquoting her talking about LGBTI issues. On 19 July 2017, the same man published another post reacting to a fake quote from Siti Kasim about Islam and commented, “The dog is barking at the hill but it will not be long before the hill collapses on the dog”. This post triggered many comments, many of which were extremely violent and called for the human rights defender to be beheaded, raped and have acid thrown at her face. The man’s followers also started to exchange Whatsapp numbers and seemed to be organising. The name of the website where the threats were published as well as the identity of the man who posted the first threats will not be disclosed in order to prevent any interference with the police investigation.
Siti Kasim has previously received death threats for speaking out against the rise of religious extremism in Malaysia, however, these most recent threats are amongst the most serious she has ever received. As a result, the human rights lawyer is worried for her and her family’s safety.
I express concern at the grave threats against human rights defender, Siti Kasim, which I believe are solely motivated by her peaceful and legitimate work for human rights in Malaysia.
I urge the authorities in Malaysia to:
1. Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the death threats against Siti Kasim, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards;
2. Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Siti Kasim as well as of the members of her family;
3. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.