KUALA LUMPUR, June 20: The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will ensure that the police comply with and enforce the Lock-up Rules and Criminal Procedure Code Acts.
Compliance with this act is to ensure that custodial death caused by police negligence can be reduced.
According to Suhakam Commissioner, James Nayagam, this is because they are unable to deal with cases of death while under police custody which is said to be too many and are getting more critical.
He learned that so far, there have been 222 reported custodial deaths since 2000, with the latest case involving an engineer, P.Karyna Nithi who was confirmed to have died at the Tampin Police Station in Negeri Sembilan.
“We are unable to listen to more cases of reported custodial deaths every day.
“This country has laws and the Lock-up Rules Act should be obeyed by the police, including to ensure that detainees are safe and to ensure that the closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are functional to monitor the situation of the detainee.
“Inform the detainee’s family is anything happens immediately and to conform to the interrogation period, the rights and safety of people in detention.
“The law already exists; the police just need to follow it. What I can guarantee is that Suhakam will urge for the act to be enforced to prevent the same thing from happening again,” he said when receiving the memorandum from the Karuna’s family here at the Suhakam headquarters this morning.
Meanwhile, PKR Complaints Bureau Chief, S.Manikavasagam representing the deceased’s family urged for Suhakam to set up an independent inquiry body to investigate the true cause of Karuna’s death.
He stressed that they have already sent a memorandum to the Inspector-General of the Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar the other day for the same purpose (to investigate Karuna’s cause of death), however no response has been given till today.
“Many cases such as this have been reported, but unfortunately the police have never took any action.
“The police take the easy way out by saying that the detainees suffered a heart attack. Is this fair to the deceased’s family when the medical report has already confirmed that the deceased have been injured,” he stressed.
The memorandum, among others, questioned the police action of not transferring the deceased to the Sungai Udang prison after being sentenced by court, but instead left Karuna at the Tampin Police Station.
The deceased’s family also questioned why no CCTV footage of the incident was taken on the day of the incident, arousing suspicion that the police is trying to hide evidence.
In addition, the memorandum also questioned why the deceased’s family has yet to be given any explanation as to the truth of what had happened causing Karuna’s death.
Karuna, 42, died on June 1 at the Tampin Police District Headquarters, a day before his family could raise money for his bail.
A day later, the Negeri Sembilan Police Chief, Datuk Osman Salleh reportedly said that there was no foul play in the death of Karuna, who was arrested on 27 May after allegedly attacking his wife and was charged under Section 324 of the Penal Code.
However, on June 14, the autopsy report on the victim showed that the deceased suffered 49 injuries.
Most injuries were caused by blunt objects on the chest and legs, according to the report prepared by the Tuanku Jaafar Forensic Hospital Consultant, Dr Sharifah Safoorah Syed Alwee Al’Aidrus.