Editorial: A Law That Only Hurts

16 January 2023
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Amid continued rebuffing of suggestions to repeal/amend the Digital Security Act 2018, more evidence of the law being abused has emerged, further strengthening the voices of critics. According to data collected by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS), which logged each DSA case filed between October 2018 and August 2022, only two percent of the accused have seen their cases resolved with the court handing a conviction, or an acquittal, or dismissing them. The fate of the rest is yet to be decided.

Overall, the CGS recorded 1,109 cases, around 60 percent of which were over Facebook activities. A total of 2,889 individuals were accused: of them, 52 saw their cases settled within the court system, while nine saw them withdrawn. There are more disquieting revelations, however. At least 725 of the cases being investigated by police are apparently from before 2022 – which suggests a clear violation of the legal time limit given to complete investigations. An investigation report, according to the law, must be submitted within 60 days; if necessary, investigators can seek an extension of 15 days. The reckless violation of this rule means that the accused are doomed to suffer pre-trial horrors, including arrests and prolonged stay in police custody, which is completely against the spirit of justice.

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