PETALING JAYA: A child activist has criticised the manner in which two teenagers were brought to court for a remand hearing in connection with the murder investigations of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Nazrin Hassan.
Voice of the Children's Dr Hartini Zainudin told The Star that there could have been irreparable psychological damage done to the two teenage boys, aged 14 and 16, who were handcuffed and barefooted when they were brought to the Petaling Jaya Magistrate's Court on Sunday (Sept 9).
"These actions have psychological and traumatic effects on these children. They are children and they are not criminals. I'm sorry but they have not been charged. So, why?" Dr Hartini said on Monday (Sept 10).
She also objected to the attire that the teens were wearing. One of the teenagers was clad in purple attire, while the other was wearing an orange lock-up attire when they appeared in court.
"They should not have been in bright coloured clothes or prison outfits, that's for sure. There should be care taken where they are not paraded in public.
"You don't need to handcuff and shackle the kids. You can have escorts. The kids are not going to run, where are they going?" she said.
Dr Hartini had, earlier today, taken part with a group made up of friends and family members of the teenagers to stage a protest at the Petaling Jaya court complex over what they perceived to be unfair treatment towards the two boys.
Concerns were also raised at the photos and videos taken by the media. Under the Child Act 2001, minors are not supposed to be identified in any way during court proceedings.
Dr Hartini added that the although some have claimed that the teenagers' photos were pixelated by the media, their faces on the videos were not.
"We are treating them as criminals when they are actually only remanded to assist in the investigation. We have to remember that the laws are there to protect children, because they are children," she said.
Dr Hartini added that she would also be writing a letter to the Royal Malaysian Police on behalf of the organisation to seek assistance in ensuring that there was protection and safety for the teenagers that are currently in remand.
On Sunday (Sept 9), the court granted the police a seven-day remand order on the teenagers.
The case is being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.
Last week, police also detained Nazrin’s wife Samirah Muzaffar and her ex-husband, both 43.
Samirah's ex-husband has been released by the police but she was remanded for seven days.
However, police on Monday (Sept 10) managed to extend Samirah's remand order for a further three days. She is expected to be released on Thursday (Sept 13).