Chain remand of minors an attempt to hide brutality towards detainees?

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

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) strongly condemns the rearrest of two 16-year-old minors, Kanapathy Perathapan and Ang Kian Kok,  who were arrested with Balamurugan, a victim of police brutality who succumbed to his injuries on 8 February 2017, and the physical violence inflicted upon them in detention.

The practice of rearrest and chain remand represents a blatant abuse of power by the police, and it is an infringement of an individual’s fundamental human rights both under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This practice exploits exising loopholes and abuses remand proceedings to unlawfully detain a person under a veil of legality.

On top of the violation of rights in this regard, detainees have also repeatedly reported that they were allegedly beaten and tortured in detention to their parents and to the presiding magistrate. The Magistrate’a Court has thus far rejected all applications for extension of remand.

The initial remand granted by the courts for each re-arrest despite elements of re-arrest and police brutality in detention is disappointing, to say the least. The courts should have taken into account the welfare of minors and elements of human rights violations in granting the remand orders. In the interest of the welfare of the two detained minors, no further remand orders should be granted by the Magistrate’s Court.

There is no legitimate reason nor any reasonable justification for the continued detention of Kanapathy and Ang except to punish them and silence them for potentially allegedly witnessing the brutality inflicted on Balamurugan.

The continued detention through such underhanded means only serves to strengthen this view and further incriminates the police as an institution that allegedly permits violence in detention and protects those who murder detainees in cold blood.

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Furthermore, reflecting upon Malaysia’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Malaysian government’s obligation to protect the welfare of children, the treatment of Kanapathy and Ang marks a failure of the government and a betrayal of its commitment and obligations to protect and uphold the rights of the child.

The duty to protect the rights of the child falls upon all government agencies and institutions including the judiciary, and a failure of this magnitude must not be allowed to continue.

Suaram strongly condemns this unconscionable act by the police and all government quarters involved that enable the continuation of ill treatment against the two minors and call for their immediate release and the suspension of the officers involved!

Suaram also calls on Suhakam and the EAIC to immediately investigate the alleged misconduct of the police against Kanapathy and Ang; and to help ensure the physical wellbeing and safety of the two from further physical violence and abuse.

24 February 2017

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

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