The ICJ today wrote to the Prime Minister of Malaysia urging that the Government ensure the protection of lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.
The ICJ also called on the Government to ensure an effective and impartial investigation into the threat made to the life of Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and to take action against those responsible.
The ICJ has received information that a death threat was made against Malik Imtiaz Sarwar. A public poster, entitled “Wanted Dead”, describes Malik Imtiaz Sarwar as a betrayer of Islam for his involvement in a court case in which a woman is seeking to have her religious affiliation deleted from her identity card. The ICJ is concerned for the safety of Malik Imtiaz Sarwar.
The ICJ said that lawyers, along with prosecutors and judges, are one of the pillars upon which human rights and the rule of law rest and should be accorded protection so that they can properly carry out their professional functions.
The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers require states to guarantee that lawyers are able to exercise their professional functions unhindered and that states must provide security to any lawyer who might be threatened due to the legitimate exercise of his or her professional functions:
“Article 16. Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;
Article 17. Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.”