Bar adopts resolution calling for stern action to curb custodial deaths

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We need to avoid congestion in cells and prisons - File photo: themalaymailonline

The Malaysian Bar, at its annual general meeting attended by 842 lawyers on 18 March 2017, adopted the following resolution. There were no objections, but sadly about five abstained.

Resolution

Whereas

  • Deaths in police custody continues to happen in Malaysia. There has been three deaths in police custody in 2017, namely:

18 January – Soh Kai Chiok at Triang police station in Bera District, Pahang;
7 February – Balamurugan Suppiah at North Klang police headquarters; and
25 February – Thanaseelan Muniandy at Bukit Sentosa police station in Hulu Selangor District.

  • The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission(EAIC) has completed inquiries for at least three deaths in custody, and in two it had found the police liable for the death. It also found that there had been police officers that lied and even made false reports and entries into diaries. There have also been findings that there have been attempts to ‘cover up’, and even destroy available evidence.

Syed Mohd Azlan bin Syed Mohamed – 27 November 2014

  • In the inquiry report concerning the death in custody one of Syed Mohd Azlan bin Syed Mohamed on 27 November 2014, amongst others, the EAIC found that police officers had killed (‘murdered’) Syed Mohd Azlan. They also found, amongst others, the involvement of police officers in trying to destroy evidence and interfere with the police investigations. They recommended the public prosecutor to charge these police officers under section 302 (murder) and for various crimes. The following are merely some extracts from the said EAIC Report:

Suruhanjaya mendapati anggota polis B4 telah mengganggu bahan bukti di tempat kejadian apabila mengarahkan A29 (pemilik rumah tempat tangkapan) melalui panggilan telefon kepada A29 pada jam lebih kurang 8.40 pagi, pada 3 November 2014 untuk membersihkan tempat kejadian dan melupuskan tikar getah dan karpet yang mempunyai kesan darah si mati….(9.6)

Suruhanjaya juga mendapati anggota polis B4 telah membuat panggilan telefon kepada A29 mengarahkan A29 supaya menghilangkan /menyembunyikan diri selepas kejadian tangkapan dan kematian si mati… (9.7)

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Suruhanjaya mendapati terdapat perlakuan jenayah yang melibatkan unsur niat bersama atau pensubahatan (abetment) oleh B1, B2, B3, B4 dan A1 bagi melakukan serangan kekerasan fizikal secara sengaja ke atas si mati yang telah mengakibatkan kecederaan dan kematian ke atas si mati, dan perlakuan ini adalah merupakan kesalahan jenayah di bawah undang-undang khususnya di bawah seksyen 302, seksyen 325 Kanun Keseksaan dibaca bersama seksyen 34 atau seksyen 107 Kanun yang sama. (9.12)

Suruhanjaya juga mendapati perlakuan anggota polis B4 yang mengarahkan A29 supaya melupuskan barang bukti dan menyembunyikan saksi material iaitu secara mengarahkan A29 supaya menghilangkan diri, adalah satu kesalahan berunsur jenayah di bawah seksyen 118 atau seksyen 119 Kanun Keseksaan yang mewajarkan pendakwaan jenayah dibawa terhadap B4 tersebut. (9.13)

Suruhanjaya juga menerima perkara-perkara dan dapatan-dapatan siasatan Pasukan Petugas selaras dengan peruntukan seksyen 30(1)(c) Akta 700, bagi pendakwaan jenayah diperakukan kepada Pendakwa Raya terhadap pegawai dan anggota yang didapati telah melakukan salah laku jenayah seperti yang dikenalpasti di dalam Laporan ini. (9.16)

  • Despite the recommendation that these officers be charged and tried, there seem to be no information that any criminal action has been taken against these police officers that have broken the law.

Dharmendran a/l Narayanasamy (May 2013)

  • In the EAIC Inquiry Report concerning the death in police custody of one Dharmendran a/l Narayanasamy, it was revealed again that police officers behaved dishonestly and tampered with police records. Some extracts of this report, as examples, are as follows:-

Suruhanjaya mendapati catatan entri tambahan di P32 pada 21 Mei 2013 di catatan entri no.3150 selepas sahaja perkataan “terkawal” adalah maklumat butiran palsu/salahnyatayang direkasecara bersama oleh SP60 (A/SAC Khairi Ahrasa), SP27 (A/ACP Yahya Abdul Rahman), SP39 (DSP Glenn Anthony Sinappah) dan SP44 (Insp. Hare Krishnan a/l Subramaniam) pada malam kejadian (21 Mei 2013) semasa perbincangan di Bilik Mesyuarat D9, …supaya membuat catatantambahan di entri no. 3150 tersebut berdasarkan maklumat yang direka-reka tersebut… (31.2.2)

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Suruhanjaya mendapati catatan di entri no. 3154 di Eksibit P32 yang mencatatkan “L/Kpl 144682 terima aduan daripada OKT, penama Dharmendran a/l Narayanasamy maklum sesak nafas dan rasa hendak pergi hospital untuk buat rawatan.”;…juga merupakan entri palsu/salahnyata oleh pakatan bersama… (31.2.7)

Suruhanjaya mendapati perlakuan SP60, SP27, SP39 dan SP44 yang secara bersama mereka-reka kandungan entri no. 3150 bahagian kedua, entri no. 3151, 3152, 3153 dan 3154 dengan mengarahkan SP24 dan SP25 membuat catatan kandungan yang direka-reka tersebut di dalam Eksibit P32 adalah satu perlakuan salah laku yang serius yang melibatkan pegawai-pegawai kanan bertujuan untuk melindungi (cover-up) fakta sebenar kematian si mati dengan memberi maklumat yang diketahui sebagai tidak benar atau palsu yang boleh menjejaskan suatu siasatan kes yang adil dari dapat dilakukan berkaitan kematian si mati…(31.2.11)

Perlakuan SP60, SP27, SP39 dan SP44 yang mereka-reka entri palsu/salah nyata untuk dicatat di dalam Eksibit P32 (Buku Perharian Balai) boleh menjurus kepada kesalahan bersifat jenayah seperti yang diperuntukkan oleh seksyen 192, 201 dan/atau seksyen 203 Kanun Keseksaan.(31.2.12)

  • In this case four police officers had already been charged when the inquiry started; as such the inquiry did not look into the killing in greater detail. It focused however on the other wrongdoings, including the dishonest behaviour of the police who changed/tampered with police records and documents for the purpose of possibly covering up the truth.
  • Honesty and integrity is expected especially from the police, enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges involved in the administration of criminal justice.
  • Again, we have no information of any of the said officers being charged in court for the alleged crimes that they committed.
  • It is possible that some ‘internal’ disciplinary action may have been taken against these police officers. There is also the possibility that no action was taken. In any event, this information seems to have not been reported in the media.
  • As such, when the police has been found to be wrongly and dishonestly tampering with evidence and records, and/or involved in actions of ‘cover-ups’, these actions cannot be tolerated. The failure of police officers to report wrongdoings and/or crimes of their fellow police officers also cannot be tolerated.
  • There is a need to weed out such ‘bad’ and/or dishonest police officers, and it is also important that such police officers not be ‘protected’, but be charged and tried in a court of law.
  • Such action against ‘bad’ police officers is needed to protect the integrity of the police, and also may serve as a deterrence to other police officers, enforcement officers and prosecutors involved in the administration of justice in Malaysia.
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Therefore, it his hearby resolved:

A. that all police officers who have committed a crime, be it torture, murder, tampering with evidence or records, and/or covering up of crimes of fellow officers need to be removed to protect the integrity of the Malaysian police and the administration of justice;

B. that all police officers who have committed a crime related to the carrying out their duties should be promptly investigated, charged and tried in open court, rather than subjected to ‘secretive’ internal disciplinary actions;

C. that torture and death in custody be eradicated from Malaysia;

D. that the Bar Council continue doing the good work they are doing to ensure the eradication of torture and death in custody in Malaysia;

E. that the Bar Council ensures that the standard operating procedures (SOP) governing all police action, be made public for it is necessary for all to know so that they can claim their rights, and/or highlight when their rights are violated; and

F. that Malaysia immediately sets up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

The motion was proposed by Charles Hector Fernandez, Francis Pereira and Shanmugam a/l Ramasamy.

Source: Malaysian Bar website

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