Thursday, June 12, 2014

Killing inside police lock-up must stop immediately

Family of latest death-in-custody victim astonished at official reason given

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FZ.COM/Himanshu Bhatt
BUTTERWORTH (June 10): The family of Agin Raj Sunmarkkan Naidu, who died while in police custody on June 7, is astonished that the official report on his death issued by the authorities has attributed it to epileptic fits, since the 26-year old never had such a condition in his life.
His sister, Regina Devi, 23, today said the family members were taken by surprise after being informed of this following his death at the Bukit Mertajam Hospital.
Regina said she and her mother Sivapakiam Palchamy, 47, had seen Agin Raj's hands handcuffed and his legs tied to the hospital bed when he was warded in custody.
They became concerned as they did not see him being administered with any form of intravenous feeding, and had wanted to give him some 100 Plus isotonic drink, but this was refused.
They were further shocked and hurt when they approached the doctor, who they described as an Indian woman, about his condition.
"She said he is an alcohol addict and if he did not take alcohol this would not have happened," Regina told a press conference with Sivapakiam at the service centre of Deputy Chief Minister (II) and Prai assemblyman Prof P Ramasamy.
She added that when her mother told the doctor that Agin Raj had not taken food, the doctor refused to allow any food from the family or even intravenous drip to be given.
A furious Ramasamy called for both the doctor and the police investigating officer who was handling Agin Raj's case to be suspended.
"Who is this medical doctor?" he asked, describing her alleged behaviour as irresponsible and inhumane. "The safety of patients is of paramount importance."
Sivapakiam had earlier today lodged a report at the Seberang Perai Tengah police headquarters on Agin Raj's death while under custody.
She said in the report that Agin Raj was healthy when he was arrested but had later mentioned to her when he was brought to court that he was unwell and had been roughed up and beaten.
Agin Raj had been arrested with his friend under the suspicion of stealing metal at the Prai Industrial Area on June 3.
Regina had said although he was charged on June 6, no plea was recorded and the magistrate has set the bail at RM8,000. But the family only managed to raise RM4,000.
Agin Raj was then locked up at the police headquarters where he was remanded between June 3 and 6, but on June 5 he was said to have suffered epileptic seizures and was taken to the hospital where he died two days later.
"My son had also told me that he had not been given any food or drink after a day past when he entered the hospital. My son was also not given glucose injection (drip), even though the police and hospital were aware that my son's body was very weak after being hit by epilepsy," Sivapakiam said in the report.
She added that the family was later only informed of Agin Raj's death by an unknown woman who called them, and till today there has been no information communicated to them by the police.

Ramasamy said he will write to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S Subramaniam to investigate the hospital, as well as Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the Attorney General for an independent inquest into the death.
He added that he would also get legal advice on behalf of the family.
"He was in police detention for four to five days. What happened that led to his condition?" Ramasamy asked, stressing that there seemed to have been fundamental neglect at the police station and in the hospital.
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This kind of killing has become a routine in all police stations that PDRM and Home Ministry are very supportive of.
It is time to make it compulsory for all suspect to be given full check up before the police are allowed to interrogate them.  All check-up reports must be given to the next of kin to keep in case the suspect is killed in custody.
We the people of Malaysia cannot accept such excuses given by PDRM.

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