Recently, a 22-year-old autistic man, Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi was arrested for allegedly molesting a 24-year-old woman’s chest after his birthday celebration at a restaurant. Many have claimed that the arrest was unfair, and they have also created an online petition demanding justice for the autistic man.
The Star reported that the petition was launched on 17 September 2018 (Monday) via change.org and, at the time of writing this article, over 16,000 people have signed it. They intend to reach 25,000 signatures!
Titled “Fairness for Ziqri, Justice for Autism”, the petition demands for Ziqri to be treated fairly and for the authorities to review its SOP (Standard Operation Procedures) when dealing with disabled people.
The petition, which was addressed to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Inspector-General of Police, reads,
“Ahmad Ziqri has the mental age of a much younger person and was unable to process much of what happened.”
The petition continued,
“While the awareness of autism in Malaysia has risen in the past few years, very little is seen in terms of action in the community. Their needs and behaviours are often misunderstood.”
Therefore, the petition urges the authorities to join hands with psychiatrists, psychologist and parents with (similar) disabled children to apply the proper protocols when handling these kinds of people.
Besides that, they also requested for any family member or designated people to help the disabled individual “navigate through the system”. Lastly, they implored that restraints like handcuffs should be used as a last resort as it can cause harm to the disabled person.
“We would like to suggest that restraints such as handcuffs be the last resort as persons with disabilities often have extreme sensory issues which can lead to stress and anxiety which will manifest in the form of self-injury, seizures and extreme behaviour issues.”
Hasnah, Ahmad’s mother, also thinks that the police should have handled her son’s “unique situation” differently.
However, she doesn’t blame the police or the complainant for their lack of understanding because she understood their perspective.
“Putting myself in her shoes, it can be a harrowing experience, especially when you are not exposed to autism, and my son looks like a normal guy,” she said.
Hasnah further revealed that her son wasn’t his usual self since he came back from being detained after being released on bail. Oh dear!
That said, the petition had certainly made some valid points, don’t you think? Perhaps the authorities should revise their SOP and implement suitable ways to handle people with disabilities when they arrest them. What are your thoughts on this issue? Let us know in the comments below!
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