HAKAM comment: Another senseless death in custody, which took place despite a magistrate having already ordered the deceased’s release. Why do such events continue?
PETALING JAYA: A man from Kapar has died in police custody three days after being wrongfully arrested, his family claims.
S. Bala Murugan, 44, was arrested on Monday by police officers from the North Klang district police headquarters.
His family members claimed that no explanation was given for his detention.
According to lawyer Gerard Lazarus, Bala was only arrested because he was found with two other men, one of whom was wanted by the police.
He claimed that Bala was beaten while in detention and when brought to court to be remanded on Tuesday was bleeding severely from his mouth.
“When I tried to clean him up and asked him to drink some water, he ended up vomiting blood, and the magistrate saw all of this.
“That was when he called the investigating officer of the case and asked for Bala to be released or taken to the hospital immediately.
“The investigating officer agreed and said he would do so. However, police officers later told the family that they needed to take Bala to the police station first before releasing him,” he said.
Gerard said he was later told by an inspector from the North Klang station that the head of investigation had ordered for Bala not to be released.
“The next thing, I received news that Bala was dead.
“I was told by a friend that the rumour of his death was circulating in police WhatsApp groups.
“At 6am today we received confirmation that Bala had died in custody. There was no report of a re-arrest, which means Bala was held illegally after the magistrate ordered for him to be released, and he died in custody,” said the lawyer yesterday.
He said Bala’s younger brother had gone to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang at 9am to identify the body.
“He said the face was badly bruised and was bloody but he was not allowed to see anything else,” Gerard added.
He said the family would lodge a police report on the case. [update]
Gerard added that the family was not satisfied with the post-mortem which was conducted and wanted another to be done.
“They will not be claiming the remains and I will be filing for a second post-mortem to be carried out,” he said.
When contacted, a senior officer from the North Klang police headquarters said Bala’s death was being investigated.