Man allegedly nabbed under Sosma dies in police custody


Thanabalan Subramaniam, 38, was arrested late last month outside a school in Kapar, died in custody 20 days later. His family was told that he died of a heart attack. Image from FMT News.

SHAH ALAM: A 38-year-old man from Kapar who was arrested by the police 20 days ago has died in custody.

According to family members, driving instructor Thanabalan Subramaniam was arrested in front of SJK (C) Soo Jin on March 29, while sending one of his children to school.

Last night, his family received a phone call from the police informing them that Thanabalan had passed away after a heart attack.

Speaking to FMT at the Shah Alam Hospital, family members claimed police told them that Thanabalan was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma.

“We could not see him after he was arrested, supposedly because he was detained under Sosma,” said one family member.

They said they were unaware why the father of two was arrested, but added that his younger brother, Murugan, was also detained a day earlier on March 28, allegedly under Sosma as well.

Incumbent Kapar MP G Manivannan, when met at the hospital, said a post-mortem would be conducted today.

He said the police had told him the cause of death could not be revealed pending an investigation into Thanabalan’s death.

He also said it was unclear if Thanabalan had died at the police station, on the way to the hospital or at the hospital.

“What is certain is that this is a death in custody.

“My office is trying to get a medical expert from our panel to stand in and observe the post-mortem.”

Depending on the results, Manivannan added, the family might request a second post-mortem.

He said the police had informed him that there were functioning CCTVs in the police station, and that Thanabalan was sharing a cell with other detainees.

Manivannan also urged the police to meet with Thanabalan’s family members and answer their questions regarding his detention and death.