KUALA LUMPUR, 25 June 2009: The spouse of A Gnanapragasam wants the Home Ministry to hold an immediate inquest into his death while in police custody.
“I am very unsatisfied with all that has happened to my husband,” said M Manamegala, Gnanapragasam’s spouse, in a memorandum submitted to deputy minister Jelaing Mersat in Parliament today.
Gnanapragasam, a 53-year-old burglary suspect, was arrested in Damansara Damai on 10 June 2009. He was found dead in the Bandar Sri Damansara police station lock-up four days later. The police initially claimed that his death was related to drug addiction.
A post-mortem would later find that Gnanapragasam died because of a massive stomach infection.
“I question the actions of the police, who did not provide medical treatment for my husband, or send him to hospital,” Manamegala said.
Manamegala with Tian Chua (left) and Elizabeth Wong
In her memorandum, Manamegala said she met with her husband on 12 June.
“When I saw my husband, I was very shocked because his right eye was swollen. He told me that he had been beaten by police after his arrest,” Manamegala said. “That was the last time I met my husband.”
Manamegala received a phone call on 14 June from the police, informing her of her husband’s death. When viewing Gnanapragasam’s body, Manamegala said she discovered bruises.
“This is hard evidence of my husband’s claims that he was beaten by the police while in custody,” Manamegala said.
She called on Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to hold an inquest immediately into her husband’s death, as well as into other deaths in police custody.
“I am very disturbed to find that there are many deaths in the lock-up into which no inquests have been held,” Manamegala said.
In Parliament today, Manamegala was accompanied by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) elected representatives such as parliamentarians R Sivarasa (Subang-PKR) and Tian Chua (Batu-PKR), and Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong.
“I urge the federal government to form an independent commission to investigation deaths in police lock-up,” Wong said in a press statement delivered in Parliament.
“The total number of such deaths is increasing, and are shameful,” she added.
Wong and other PR elected representatives again petitioned the government to form a Coroner’s Court and an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to tackle the issue.
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