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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Handcuff death raised in Cabinet, PM Najib orders forensic report


File photo of armed policemen guarding the Serdang Hospital mortuary where Sugumaran’s remains are kept.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has ordered a forensic report on C. Sugumaran after the security guard who died in handcuffs after being chased down by police was raised in yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, The Star Online reported.
Sugumaran’s death joins a list of other alleged police killings like the custodial deaths of Chang Chin Te earlier this year; A. Kugan and R. Gunasegaran in 2009; the deadly police shooting of 14-year-old schoolboy Aminulrasyid Amzah in 2010, and various other fatal police shootings in the past two years.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was directed to oversee the forensic report after MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, who is also a minister in the PM’s Department, had raised the guard’s death during yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the news portal reported.
A delegation led by MIC Youth information chief S. Subramaniam was also reported to have handed over a memorandum to the Home Ministry calling for a special commission to be formed to investigate the guard’s death.
MIC Youth will also hold talks with opposition PKR leaders, who have been helping in providing legal aid to the dead man’s family, to identify an independent pathologist to conduct the second autopsy, the portal reported.
The initial post-mortem from Serdang Hospital showed that Sugumaran, 39, had died of a heart attack.
“We want to consult them as we don’t want them to accuse us of hiding anything,” S. Vell Paari, strategic chief of the ruling Barisan Nasional’s Indian party, was quoted as saying.
Several witnesses who saw Sugumaran collapse on a street near his home in Batu 12, Hulu Langat on January 23 have accused the policemen who arrested him of beating up the man after he was handcuffed.
The police have denied the allegations.
A United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2010 visit to Malaysian prisons and detention centres reported in 2011 that between 2003 and 2007, “over 1,500 people died while being held by authorities.”
The Bar Council, civil society and several politicians from both sides of the divide have called for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to reform the police force since 2006.

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