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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

EAIC busy with 3rd custodial death probe in just over a month



The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) said it viewed the passing of M Thanaseelan at the Bukit Sentosa police station lock-up in Hulu Selangor seriously following two other similar deaths in just over a month.
EAIC chairperson Yaacob Md Sam said todday the commission commenced investigation a day after Thanaseelan was found dead on Feb 25.
This followed the deaths of Soh Kai Chiok at the Bera district police headquarters in Pahang on Jan 18 and S Balamurugan at the Klang Utara district police headquarters in Selangor on Feb 8.
"The EAIC stresses that the investigation will be comprehensive, transparent and without prejudice. Custodial deaths are regretted and should be prevented.
"I also urge all police officials and personnel to take cognisance and comply with the standard operating procedure for the management of detainees in police lock-up as comprehensively outlined by Bukit Aman on April 21, 2014," Yaacob (photo) said.
He said the EAIC would determine if there was any wrongdoing by police in relation to Thanaseelan's death, how and why it happened, the rules that were breached and who were responsible.
He also updated EAIC's investigations into the deaths of Soh and Balamurugan, stating that the commission had recorded statements from 53 and 47 witnesses for the respective cases.
Thanaseelan, 43, was arrested at 2am on Feb 22, on suspicion of breaking into a house. He was remanded for four days.
He had complained about stomach pain on Feb 24 and was taken to Kuala Kubu Bharu Hospital, but was then returned to the Bukit Sentosa police station lock-up.
Thanaseelan was found dead about 1.50am on Feb 25.
LFL: The police were negligent
The post-mortem determined that Thanaseelan died from blood poisoning due to a perforated gastric ulcer.
Human rights group Lawyers for Liberty accused the police of being negligent, claiming that Thanaseelan's condition meant he would have visibly been in pain for an extended period.
Meanwhile, human rights group Suaram criticised the latest custodial death.
"This incident clearly shows there is no serious effort to put an end to custodial deaths.
"What is the proactive action by the police in response to the unabated custodial deaths?" Suaram executive director D Sevan asked in a statement today.

Sevan said there was a lack of prosecution against those responsible, despite the mounting number of deaths in custody.
He also reiterated the call by Suaram and other NGOs for the creation of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to ensure offenders within the police force are not immune to punishments.
The EAIC is a watered down version of the IPCMC, which would have had prosecution powers, following fierce opposition from the police force when the government mooted to set it up in 2009.- Mkini

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