Refugee Activist Heidy Quah Charged Over Posting On Mistreatment Of Migrants
The mistreatment of migrants and refugees in Malaysia has been highlighted by both local and international media several times in the past, but these revelations come at a price. In a Facebook post on Monday (26 July), local activist and founder of NGO Refuge for the Refugees, Heidy Quah revealed that she will be charged on Tuesday over a post she wrote on Facebook last year about the mistreatment migrants face in immigration detention.
When Quah first wrote the post in June 2020, her intention was to highlight her concerns about the hygiene and overcrowding issues in immigration detention centres, which will be exacerbated if more people were sent to these centres. As a result, Quah was then called into the Putrajaya district police headquarters where she was questioned for two hours.
Now more than a year later, Quah has been informed that she will be charged at the Cyber Crimes Court under Section 233(1) Communications and Multimedia Act for circulating false or offensive content. Despite this, Quah stood by what she wrote, and pleaded not guilty to the charges in court.
Should she be found guilty, Quah will face a maximum fine of RM50,000, a jail term of less than one year, or both. Quah was allowed bail of RM2,000. The next mention is set for 6 September.
In the meantime, Amnesty International Malaysia is encouraging people to stand in solidarity with Quah by posting messages of support and using the hashtags #LawanIntimidasi and #MigranJugaManusia on social media.
1/ 📢CALL TO ACTION📢 Heidy Quah to be charged on 27th July 2021 for her FB post on the harmful conditions in immigration detention centres. ➡️Post a message on social media in solidarity with Heidy Quah #️⃣ Use the hashtags #LawanIntimidasi and #MigranJugaManusia pic.twitter.com/Cy0rJWxh6V — Amnesty International Malaysia (@AmnestyMy) July 26, 2021
With the pandemic and lockdown in place, we need more people like Quah to shed light on the plight underprivileged communities face, so they can receive the necessary help and support. It’s time we stop prosecuting people for speaking up against injustice.