No end to deaths under police custody?

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Reading of the recent death under police custody, we are bewildered and have to pose this question to our Prime Minister, “Will there be no end to this?”

Why are there so many deaths under police custody? And why do these corpses bear marks of police brutality? Do we have professional personnel or sadists interrogating suspects? Do we really get to the truth or force confessions out of these unfortunate suspects through coercion and brutal means?

The 22-year-old Kugan Ananthan, who it was claimed collapsed during interrogation and subsequently died, had markings all over his body which clearly establishes that he had been subjected to torture and inhuman treatment while under custody. Who inflicted these injuries and why was this necessary?

Instead of addressing this issue, the police seem to be after those who managed to obtain this evidence to expose the horrors that take place in police stations.

What has happened is not an isolated case. Apparently, they take place on a regular basis. Why is this so? We need answers. Can the Inspector of Police go public to provide the answers? He is duty-bound to respond to this challenge.

We have had another incident that took place last month involving two Malaysians, B Parabakar and C Solomon. According to Parabakar, “he was tortured in various ways by 11 policemen” for failing “ to provide the police with any information”. These are not professional policemen but goons in police uniforms who resort to barbaric antics to coerce suspects to confess. In this case they poured boiling hot water on them. Parabakar was terribly scalded.

We need to ask the IGP whether suspects are human beings? Do they have their rights? Are they entitled to their human rights? Do they lose their human dignity the moment they are detained?

Aliran calls on the Prime Minister to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into the police conduct when they interrogate suspects. This is the only way to get to the truth. Internal inquiries by the police do not command the public’s respect or confidence.

P Ramakrishnan

President

23 January 2009

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