(Updated 10:10pm; 23 Jan 2009)
Cause of police detainee’s death to be investigated by the police
(magnifying glass pic © Steve Woods / sxc.hu)
PUTRAJAYA, 23 Jan 2009: Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has classified the death of car theft suspect A Kugan while in police custody as murder.
Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail
(pic source: Jabatan
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department T Murugiah said Abdul Gani contacted him this morning to inform him about the matter and to convey the matter to the victim’s family members and to the public.
“He had instructed the police to carry out thorough investigations,” he told reporters here.
He hoped that the victim’s family would cooperate fully in the impending investigations.
(pic source: Ministry of Health website)
“In this respect, we should should give our full cooperation and not point fingers on any quarter,” he said.
Kugan, 22, who was arrested on 15 Jan on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars, died while in police custody at 11am on 20 Jan.
The family claimed that there were injuries on Kugan’s body despite the autopsy report stating that the death was due to fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Kugan’s funeral was supposed to take place at 6pm yesterday at Batu 14, Puchong where about 1,000 people had gathered but the family wanted a second autopsy done. The body was sent to Universiti Malaya Medical Centre for an independent postmortem.
Meanwhile in PETALING JAYA, a special Bukit Aman investigation team has recorded statements from police officers who were on duty, when Kugan died in custody at a police station in Subang Jaya on 20 Jan.
Headed by Federal CID deputy director Datuk Shatar Abdul Jalil, the team had taken statements from 11 police officers from constables to corporals aged between 25 and 30 at various places including the Selangor contingent headquarters since 21 Jan.
“We will complete the probe soon. There will be no cover-up. The case has attracted a lot of attention. Give us time to investigate (the case),” said Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters here today.
He said the special team was set up to investigate allegations by Kugan’s family that he was physically abused by police.
Khalid said a report on the injury marks found on Kugan’s body would be submitted by Serdang Hospital in a few days’ time.
“We’ve got Kugan’s postmortem report yesterday and we are waiting for a report on injury marks on his face and body. We will let the media know about it,” he said.
On Kugan’s family decision to have another postmortem as it was not convinced that he died of lung infection, he said:
“The police will not seek a second postmortem as there is no provision for that.
“However, we will not stop the victim’s family from getting a court order to have a second postmortem. But I am not sure whether they will be happy with the results.”
Meanwhile, in a statement today, Amnesty International said the Malaysian authorities must initiate an independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigation into Kugan’s death.
“Only through a prompt and impartial investigation will people really know what happened to Kugan,” said Hazel Galang, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher.
“The government needs to show it is taking a strong stand against torture, especially with the country’s human rights record set to be scrutinised by the United Nations Human Rights Council in February.”
Amnesty International had previously reported on cases of police torture in Malaysia.
Kugan’s death in custody follows the case of B Prabakar, a 27-year-old car park attendant, who alleges that he was tortured by at least 10 police officers at the Brickfields police district headquarters in Selangor State in December 2008.
On 15 Jan, seven cops were charged with causing hurt in the case. — Bernama
See also: Bar wants independent investigation