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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 14:16 GMT
Malaysia naked squats condemned
Grab from video apparently showing prisoner abuse
The video was filmed on a mobile phone
A Malaysian inquiry has called on the police to stop forcing some suspects to strip and perform naked squats.

The inquiry, ordered after a video emerged of a naked woman doing squats in a Malaysian police station, said the practice infringed human rights.

Complaints by Chinese tourists of similar treatment sparked a diplomatic row with Beijing.

The video caused outrage across Malaysia when it surfaced late last year.

It shows a naked woman being forced to squat repeatedly while holding her ears, as a female officer stands in front of her.

Against Islam

The country's deputy police chief rushed to defend the practice as standard procedure.

But the commission appointed by the government accused his force of being insensitive to basic human rights.

Its report said the practice "violates the very essence of human conscience" and was against Islam, the religion followed by most Malaysians.

The commission called for such strip searches to be banned. It also concluded that the police were unaccountable, lack transparency and were resistant to change.

The BBC's Jonathan Kent, in Kuala Lumpur, says the findings are not binding, but the government is expected to implement the report's recommendations.

When he took office in 2003, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said reform of the force - which has been widely accused of corruption and inefficiency - was one of his priorities.

The scandal has already resulted in the sacking of two senior editors from a local Chinese language newspaper that mistakenly identified the woman in the video as a Chinese national.

However, the minister in charge of the police escaped with a reprimand when he told foreigners who did not like what they saw in the video to go home to their own countries.

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