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Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) wishes to draw attention, particularly that of the Prime Minister, YAB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to the case of a young Malaysian national, Hemakavin a/l Karthigesu, who is currently imprisoned in Cambodia. Hemakavin, who was 19 years old at the time of his arrest, was a victim of a drug syndicate.

This incident took place in 2016, when Hemakavin was offered free flight tickets to Cambodia for a holiday by his girlfriend. He was told that her sister and her boyfriend would also be joining them. On the day of departure, Hemakavin was informed by his girlfriend that he would have to leave for Cambodia on his own first, due to technical issues with their tickets. She promised, however, that they would meet him there later. Upon arriving in Cambodia, Hemakavin was contacted by a stranger who introduced himself as his girlfriend’s friend. Hemakavin was asked to go to a hotel room on his own to rest first and help check if his girlfriend’s belongings were in the room.

As soon as Hemakavin entered the hotel room, he was arrested and handcuffed by the Cambodian anti-narcotics police officers. Hemakavin and another Malaysian national were charged with drug trafficking. The Cambodian police officers instructed Hemakavin to hold a metal box for a photo of him to be taken. He was then accused and tried in court, with his fingerprint on the metal box presented as court evidence. Based on this evidence, Hemakavin was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison and a fine of 40 million riel (approximately RM45,000). Hemakavin’s appeal at the Cambodian Court of Appeal was also dismissed.

Hemakavin’s family members have taken various measures to help him, including:

a. Lodging a police report;

b. Lodging complaints to two agencies, namely the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), regarding the exploitation of young people as drug mules by the drug syndicate;

c. Seeking the help of Members of Parliament to raise this issue in the Dewan Rakyat;

d. Seeking the assistance of the Malaysian Attorney-General's Chambers to contact the Cambodian Attorney General for a review of Hemakavin's case due to miscarriage of justice;

e. Seeking government assistance, particularly from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, appeal for clemency on behalf of Hemakavin via bilateral diplomatic avenues.

Despite tireless efforts at all aforementioned fronts, Hemakavin's pursuit of justice remains elusive.

SUARAM urges the Prime Minister, YAB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim, to review Hemakavin a/l Karthigesu's case and to take steps to ensuring that Hemakavin is brought home. One such step that we hope to see the Prime Minister implement is to raise this issue with the Cambodian government and to discuss possible solutions with them during his official visit to Cambodia at the end of March 2023.

On behalf of Hemakavin a/l Karthigesu’s family, SUARAM demands that the Malaysian government to employ all bilateral diplomatic avenues available to bring about justice for Hemakavin, specifically in two ways:

i. Appeal for Royal Pardon for Hemakavin that will either reduce his prison sentence or secure his full release;

ii. Reach an agreement with the Cambodian Government to bring Hemakavin home via an International Prisoner Transfer Programme.

This year marks Hemakavin's seventh year of imprisonment for a crime he did not commit. Justice delayed is justice denied. Hemakavin was unfairly tried and convicted with falsified evidence. We believe it is time for the new government to take notice of this case. Justice must be served for Hemakavin and for all those who have fallen victim to drug trafficking.

Save Hemakavin. Bring Hemakavin back to Malaysia!

Sign the petition here:

[BM] Kenyataan Media_Hemakavin
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[ENG] Press Statement_Hemakavin
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