Malaysia: Police Tortured Detainee, Government Commission Finds

Fahirul N. Ramli
Kuala Lumpur
2016-04-28
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160428-MY-torture-report-620.jpg Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, shown at a press conference on May 25, 2015, on Thursday denounced a commission report blaming police for torturing a detainee to death.
AFP

Physical force inflicted by police officers on a detainee whose ears were stapled while he was still alive led to the man’s death in May 2013, a Malaysian government commission reported on Thursday.

In presenting its findings Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Chairman Yaacob Md Sam said detainee N. Dharmendran died of physical trauma and sustained 52 bruises, according to a pathologist’s report.

The pathologist at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, who performed an autopsy on May 22, 2013, determined that Dharmendran died of soft-tissue injuries brought on by blunt force.

“The pathologist confirmed the deceased’ ears were stapled while he was alive,” Yaacob told a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, adding that officers had altered times on entries logged in a lock-up diary.

Dharmendran was arrested on May 11, 2013, on a charge of the attempted murder of two people in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. He died 10 days later while in custody.

Four police officers were charged with killing Dharmendran.

On Dec 12, 2014, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur acquitted them, ruling that there was no prima facie evidence to support the case against them. Judge Kamardin Hashim stated then that the prosecution team had failed to prove a motive and had provided only circumstantial evidence.

An Appeals’ Court later overruled the acquittal and ordered the four to present their defense following an appeal by the prosecution.

Reacting to Thursday’s report, Police Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar said the EAIC should not have made the announcement because the case is sub judice – meaning it is under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion since the officers face a murder trial.

“Yaacob Md Sam knows very well that the case against four police officers accused in the murder of the victim will resume from May 25 to 27 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court when they will be called to enter their defense,” Khalid said in a statement.

The EAIC was formed in 2011 to handle complaints of misconduct against 19 enforcement agencies including police, immigration and customs.

EAIC: police tried to prevent fair investigation

Along with detailing the cause of Dharmendran’s death, Yaacob said there were attempts to fabricate information to prevent a fair investigation.

Among those linked to the cover-up was a senior police officer who instructed a lower-ranking officer to type out a report that contained false information about Dharmendran’s condition.

Yaacob urged the attorney general’s office to charge those officers.

Khalid challenged Yaacob’s statement, saying the new report would lead the public to believe that police failed to take action although a thorough, detailed and transparent investigation was undertaken.

Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh had little to say about the report.

“For me to comment now on the matter is not appropriate,” Amar told BenarNews.

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