Justice for Dharmendran, family: Take action immediately, urges Suaram

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Aliran members were among those who protested outside the central lock-up in Bayan Baru on Mother's Day 2014

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) welcomes the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) report on the death of N Dharmendran and calls on the attorney general’s chambers and the police to take immediate actions based on the EAIC report.

The issue of custodial deaths has plagued Malaysia since time immemorial with select members of the Royal Malaysian Police showing complete disregard for custodial deaths. Some members of the police have shown their inclination to manipulate the evidence in order to protect their interests such as in the case of A Kugan.

The damning report by the EAIC leaves no doubt that those that were complicit in causing the death must be punished accordingly to deter future offenders and for the police to restore their image and integrity.

To this end, Suaram calls for immediate and drastic steps to be taken by the police. All officers directly implicated in the EAIC report must be suspended from duty immediately, pending formal disciplinary action. If the EAIC report is found to be accurate, these officers must be immediately discharged from the force.

The EAIC has clearly indicated that certain members of the police have disregarded Para 33 of the Inspector General of Police’s Standing Orders (IGSO) Part A ‘118’ and acted directly against the IGP’s order.

The inspector general of police should cease his attempts to discredit the EAIC report and undertake immediate steps to remedy the problem at hand. Failure to adhere to the ISGO also clearly contravenes the IGP’s earlier claims that the police are always professional in their conduct. The cause of non-compliance with ISGO must be thoroughly investigated.

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In the light of the ample evidence against officers who were complicit in the death of N Dharmendran, the attorney general’s chambers must initiate prosecution against those involved. Failure to do so would undoubtedly raise the perception that the criminal justice system in Malaysia is biased and favours enforcement agencies. With the police compromised by two damning reports from EAIC and falling public perceptions, the attorney general’s chambers must take steps to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Suaram would like to remind all those concerned that failure to act would result in further injustice and put thousands of detainees at further risk of harm. Immediate steps must be taken to address these gross human rights violations and ensure that custodial deaths do not recur.

Suaram would also like to acknowledge the comprehensive report and investigation by the EAIC and look forward to the conclusion of other investigations by the EAIC.

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

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