Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Another death in police custody - sudden death?

Tarmizi said, between 2005 and 2014, a total of 111 deaths in custody had been recorded by Suaram.

Rights group slams Putrajaya over another death in police custody 

Published: 14 January 2015 10:47 AM 
A human rights group has said that Putrajaya was not serious about curbing abuse of power by the police, following the death of a man in police custody in Johor, less than two weeks into the new year.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) coordinator Tarmizi Anuwar said according to records, the 31-year-old victim had 10 previous convictions related to drug offences.

"On January 7, the victim complained of a stomach ache and was sent to the Sultan Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru for treatment.

"He was returned to the lock-up after being given outpatient treatment at the hospital. The following day, he complained of stomach ache again." This time round though, the suspect died shortly after arriving at the hospital and police classified his passing as sudden death.

Tarmizi said Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Hasnan Hassan had confirmed the suspect's death.

"Although the coroner and pathology report both backed up police's classification of sudden death, but Suaram does not take this issue lightly.

"Both the coroner and pathology report checked the deceased's body at the scene and did not note any sign of external injuries.

"Police should reveal the exact cause of death. The excuse of sudden death is illogical when the deceased had complained of stomach ache."

Tarmizi said sudden death was an excuse which had been used on numerous occasions by police to explain deaths in custody.

"For example, on November 4 last year, the death of Syed Mohd Azlan in Pengerang had also been classified as sudden death.

"However, there were signs of severe injuries on Syed's body. The hospital also later confirmed the cause of death had been due to blunt trauma to Syed's chest."

Tarmizi said for 2014, there had been a total of 14 deaths in police custody which had been recorded by Suaram.

"Deaths in custody are a serious issue as it involved the integrity of the police force," Tarmizi said.

"Police are responsible for guaranteeing the safety and health of suspects in detention. Violence and injuries of any sort should not be permitted against suspects in custody."

Tarmizi said, between 2005 and 2014, a total of 111 deaths in custody had been recorded by Suaram.

"Despite all these case, until today, police have not formed an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)."

He said this showed that Putrajaya was not serious in stamping out abuse of power by the police.

Tarmizi said the report by the 2005 royal commission (RCI) chaired by former Chief Justice Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah had listed 125 suggestions including the setting up of the IPCMC.
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