A petition to support an autistic man accused of molesting a woman has gained the support of thousands

A petition to revise how the authorities treat those with mental disabilities has been signed by thousands.
Change.org/Child Sabah

What was supposed to be a birthday celebration for 22-year-old Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi took a turn for the worst when he was allegedly arrested for molesting a woman by touching her chest.

Ziqri, who is autistic, was arrested last Tuesday (September 11) and was taken to court to be remanded the next day, which meant he had to spend the night in the police lock-up, The Star reported.

His mother, Hasnah Abdul Rahman, took to Facebook to share what happened when her son went off to visit some shops after celebrating his birthday, and explained that he did not understand the consequences of his actions nor why he was being arrested.

She also shared a video of her son being led to the courtroom in shackles.

Hasnah added that the police applied for a four-day remand but this was denied by the Petaling Jaya magistrate’s court on Sept 12.

Ziqri was then released on police bail and is being investigated under Section 354 of the Penal Code for outrage of modesty.

A petition was started by user Child Sabah on Monday and uploaded on change.org, and in the space of a day, it has been signed by almost 18,000 people, just seven thousand short of its goal.

The petition calls not only for Ziqri to be treated fairly, but for the authorities to review its standard operating procedures when dealing with persons with disabilities.

The petition, addressed to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Inspector-General of Police, said:

“We would like to implore those in office to put in place protocols designed by professionals and parents, for dealing with persons with disabilities in situations as such (and) that restraints such as handcuffs be the last resort as persons with disabilities often have extreme sensory issues which can lead to stress and anxiety which will manifest in the form of self-injury, seizures and extreme behaviour issues.”

It also suggested that members of the family or designated people be permitted to accompany persons with disabilities to enable them to navigate through the system and support the individual.

The petition stated that Ziqri is set to go to the police station again on Wednesday.