PETALING JAYA: Another allegation of abuse of a detainee under the authorities’ custody has surfaced, barely a week after the custodial death of S Balamurugan.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said a prisoner of Sungai Jawi prison in the state was admitted into the intensive care unit of Seberang Jaya government hospital on Feb 8 from severe head and leg injuries.
Chandran Muniandy, 42, was also found to have several of his toe nails completely removed, said Ramasamy when contacted today.
“Unless he can feel absolutely no pain, there is no way he could have pulled his toenails on his own,” Ramasamy said.
According to Ramasamy, who visited the victim last night, Chandran’s mother who was at his side looked “completely devastated”.
“She said her son was healthy when he went to prison and that’s why she was shocked to see him now unconscious and helpless.”
Chandran was sentenced to six months in prison in January for “fighting”, said Ramasamy.
He was an odd-job contract labourer from Kampung Sungei Jawi in Penang. He also has a wife and a child, according to Ramasamy.
Chandran’s mother, Pachaee Pakiry, had filed a police report yesterday, urging for the case to be investigated immediately.
In the report sighted by FMT, Pachaee claimed the doctor in charge of his son had informed her that on top of the visible injuries on his head and legs, Chandran’s skull was also found to be cracked.
“My son went into prison on Jan 20. He was healthy at the time. But on Feb 8, around 10pm, I was informed by the prison officer that he has been admitted into the ICU,” she wrote.
Ramasamy said he has offered to assist Pachaee in her effort to find out what actually happened to his son. He said that if there is a need to seek legal assistance, he would help her with that as well.
“It is sad to see something like this happening, especially on the same week that the nation was shocked by the news of Balamurugan’s custodial death.
“These people came either from a troubled family, or are just poor, and this made them an easy target.”
He said he did not know who he thought had assaulted Chandran, but added that the authorities should be more responsible over those who have been placed under their care.
The DAP Prai assemblyperson told FMT that he had contacted Penang police chief Commissioner Chuah Ghee Lye who replied that he would investigate the matter as soon as possible.
Ramasamy has also informed Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission chairman Yacob Md Sam, who promised to conduct a separate investigation.
Chandran’s case came in the wake of a national uproar over the death of Balamurugan, who died on Feb 8, while in police custody.
According to news reports, he was found with his face badly swollen and bleeding.
The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), which is among three agencies investigating the case, said there are concerns that the police had breached the standard operating procedure by, among other things, keeping Balamurugan in the lock-up instead of providing him medical treatment when he was visibly ill.