Never forget the tragic fate of Aminulrasyid

Six years ago, on the night of April 26, 2010, two teenage boys drove to a nearby eatery to watch a football game. Both were only 15 years old, did not have driving licences and the car they were in belonged to the sister of one the boys. Syahredzan Johan, a young lawyer and partner of a legal firm in Kuala Lumpur, writes to remind us ..
However, only one boy, Muhamad Azamuddin, made it home that night. The other teenager, Aminulrasyid Amzah, was killed by police officer Jenain Subi.
The car was riddled with bullets fired from Jenain’s gun – a Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine gun. Out of the 21 bullets fired, one hit Aminulrasyid, killing him instantaneously.
The tragedy did not end with Aminulrasyid’s death. It was not enough that the family lost someone dear to them. After his death, Aminulrasyid was portrayed as criminal whose death was justified.
What was the major crime committed by those boys that night that Aminulrasyid deserved to die for?
Yes, it is true Aminulrasyid was driving a car without a licence. It is true that they grazed a car and a bike on the way home. It is also true that they should have stopped when the police starting chasing them.
But they were not criminals. They were teenage boys. Brash, reckless and perhaps a little stupid. Two teenage boys who panicked, knowing that they did something they should not have done.
Whatever wrong they committed, Aminulrasyid certainly did not deserve death.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, they were made out to be criminals. The Selangor police chief at the time held a press conference.
Amongst others, he said that the car driven by Aminulrasyid tried to reverse into the police officers. He also said that the police allegedly found a parang in the car.
All these were denied by Azamuddin, the boy who survived, and Aminulrasyid’s family. When a press conference was held to give Azamuddin’s version of events, the press conference was denounced as a publicity stunt.
The other responses from the Government and authorities were in a similar vein.
The Home Minister at that time lamented how people seemed to be angry when a boy was shot, but showed no such sympathy when a police officer was shot.
The then-Inspector General of Police even said that if people did not want the law to be enforced, he would instruct his men to refrain from stopping cars or going after illegal racers.
It was as if the authorities had already pre-judged the case even before investigations were concluded.
In such circumstances, what hope was there for a fair and transparent investigation? Even if it did, the perception was the police were biased and wanted to protect their own.
It was only after public outcry that the Government acted. A special panel was formed to oversee the investigations.
Jenain was charged in Court for homicide and was initially convicted, but was acquitted by the Court of Appeal in 2012. The Court of Appeal found that the elements of the crime were not proven by the prosecution.
It finally took six years for the family to finally achieve some measure of justice for their beloved deceased. The family sued Jenain, the police and the Government in the civil court.
Recently, the Shah Alam High Court found that the use of the sub-machine gun by Jenain breached the procedure for the use of firearms set by the police themselves and this breach caused Aminulrasyid’s death.
The Shah Alam High Court also found no evidence of the said parang in the car. In fact, it was found that misfeasance in public office was committed by making those statements during the press conference.
High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Ibrahim awarded RM150,000 in damages for pain and suffering, RM150,000 for aggravated and exemplary damages and RM100,00 for the said misfeasance in public office.
Despite the court decision, no one from the Government or the police has apologised to the family for the allegations against Aminulrasyid.
Only Jenain apologised for causing Aminulrasyid’s death.
But this is not just about Jenain. It is also about Aminulrasyid’s good name. Jenain was not the only one who wronged the family and Aminulrasyid.
The tragedy that befell Aminulrasyid must not be allowed to repeat itself. We must never forget the boy who lost his life that fateful night six years ago, and how his name was dragged through the mud without any accountability on anyone’s part, even until today.