Custodial deaths: New procedures to categorise offenders

Source: FMT News

Detainees will need to fill up a form stating their injuries or illnesses and will be kept away from those with contagious diseases. Pic form FMT News.

Detainees will need to fill up a form stating their injuries or illnesses and will be kept away from those with contagious diseases. Pic form FMT News.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have reviewed their standard operating procedures (SOP) to tackle the growing problem of custodial deaths, said Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

In a written Dewan Rakyat reply, dated March 20, Zahid said the new SOP contained the requirement to isolate detainees with contagious illnesses and to ensure detainees fill up and verify a form stating their injuries or illnesses.

Also, as much as possible, detainees should be isolated according to the category of offences they’re accused of, Zahid said.

They could be isolated as remand detainees, convicted detainees, drunk detainees, habitual offenders, detainees held under preventive laws, or women and child detainees, said Zahid.

“Visits by Suhakam (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) are organised to ensure the detentions are in line with international guidelines.” Read more

Najib says BN won’t push Shariah Bill

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — Barisan Nasional will not table amendments to increase Shariah punishments being sought by PAS, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

The prime minister and BN chairman said this was decided by the coalition following its supreme council meeting this evening.

“Therefore it will remain a Private Member’s Bill and if it is presented, it will depend on the Speakers instructions,” he was quoted as saying by the Star Online news portal.

BN previously said it would take over PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposal and convert it into a government Bill eventually.

Tonight’s announcement will remove the obligation that would have existed for BN federal lawmakers to support the amendments were these tabled by the government.

Hadi’s Bill may now fail to even surface in Parliament; he was only able to table the motion for his Bill last year after an Umno minister intervened to elevate it above government matters. Read more

Suhakam lambasts police over detainee’s death in custody

Source: FMT News

Human rights group says police showed 'wilful disregard' to protect the life of S Balamurugan. Pic from FMT News.

Human rights group says police showed ‘wilful disregard’ to protect the life of S Balamurugan. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has taken the police to task over the death in custody of S Balamurugan last month.

Suhakam, which recently concluded its independent investigation into Balamurugan’s death, said the police knew or ought to have known of the existence of “a real and immediate threat” to his life. However, they failed to take adequate measures within the scope of their powers that could have prevented that risk, it said.

The rights group also said there was a “serious breach or wilful disregard” of the police’s duty to protect life. This was seen in their failure to provide medical attention to Balamurugan despite directions from the magistrate to do so.

Evidence from the probe, which took into account interviews and statements from 43 witnesses, also identified multiple systemic failures on the part of the police regarding the treatment of detainees.

This included the failure in following Lock-Up Rules 1953, police standard operating procedures, the court order and relevant international human rights norms and standards, it said. Read more