EAIC initiates probe into Bera police detainee’s death

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Source: The Malay Mail Online

EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob Md Sam said that deaths in police custody should not happen as they tarnish the integrity and credibility of the authority.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) announced today it has formed a task force to investigate the lock-up death of an alleged banana thief at the Bera district police headquarters in Pahang.

Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob Md Sam said the investigation was to see if the police had mishandled the detention procedures for Soh Kai Chiok, 49, resulting in his death.

“The individual[s] found responsible for wrongdoings will also be made known,” Yaacob said in a statement.

He also said the EAIC viewed such matters seriously, adding that deaths in police custody should not happen as they tarnish the integrity and credibility of the authority.

He also urged authorities with lock-up cells not to take the detaining process of wrongdoers lightly and to adopt the improvement steps drafted by the commission.

Soh reportedly died on Wednesday from inflammation of the intestine while under police custody.

National newswire Bernama reported that the detainee was found unconscious in his cell at 12.15am January 18. Bera police chief DSP Mansor Samsudin was cited saying that post-mortem results showed ulcers the size of a 50-sen coin was found in Soh’s intestine.

Mansor reportedly said the police had followed all procedures including providing food, treatment and medication, as well as following the fixed sleeping hours.

The victim, he said, had previous records under Section 15 (1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and was detained for stealing bananas.

In 2013, the EAIC found police misconduct in the case of N. Dharmendran, 32, who died in detention.

According to the EAIC report, four policemen in charge of questioning Dharmendran had beaten up the victim, causing massive bleeding from blunt force trauma leading to his death. Evidence showed he even had staple wounds to his ears.

The EAIC found the police later fabricated evidence to cover up the violent interrogation and recommended disciplinary action.

The policemen were charged but acquitted at the High Court last year.

However, the victim’s widow won a separate civil lawsuit to claim damages for Dharmendran’s death from the policemen.

 

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2 thoughts on “EAIC initiates probe into Bera police detainee’s death

  • January 24, 2017 at 19:04
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    Prevention is consistent with the Federal Constitution, UDHR and Conforms to Various International Standards

    A concern to prevent custody deaths is consistent with the principles of the Federal Constitution, e.g. Art. 5 including the rights to life, the right to personal liberty of the person and wholly consistent with the well-enshrined principle that persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty, [DPP v Woolmington].

    It is also in accordance with Article 3 UDHR which states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person

    Furthermore, there are a number of pertinent international standards for investigating deaths in custody.

    These are embodied mainly in the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1989 embodied in UNESCO & UNGA resolutions, UN Economic and Social Council, Res. 1989/65, 24 May 1989 and the Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, UN General Assembly, Res. 43/173, 9 December 1988.

    Practical complementary guidance may also be found in the 1991 United Nations Manual on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, UN Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/.12 (1991).

    The Manual includes: a Model Protocol for a Legal Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions (the “Minnesota Protocol”); a Model Autopsy Protocol; and a Model Protocol for Disinterment and Analysis of Skeletal Remains.

    The Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions confirm that “[t]here shall be thorough, prompt and impartial investi￾gation of all suspected cases of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions, including cases where complaints by relatives or other reliable reports suggest unnatural death” (Para. 9)

    Thus, under human rights law, the prohibition against the arbitrary deprivation of life, read in conjunction with the general obligation to respect and ensure human rights within the State’s jurisdiction, has been interpreted as imposing by implication an obligation to investigate alleged violations of the right to life. This obligation is put into effect whenever a detainee – without injuries when taken into custody – is injured or has died.

    Under human rights law, the obligation to investigate deaths in custody has also been interpreted as deriving from a combination of the prohibition against the arbitrary deprivation of life and the obligation to provide an effective remedy. In cases of alleged arbitrary deprivation of life, the right to an effective remedy entails an effective investigation, one that should result in the identification, prosecution and punishment of those responsible.

    Thence, it is humbly submitted that custodial deaths warrant the strictest effective investigation that must result in the identification, prosecution and punishment of those responsible.

    • January 26, 2017 at 10:08
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      Thank you for your comprehensive analysis.

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