Media statements issued never do get media coverage, and if it does it often does not report all that is stated. Given the fact, there seem to be no real documentation of all these civil society voices, this Blog has been started hoping to capture and preserve the voices of civil society for all. Appreciate it if you could forward me ( statements that have not been picked up by this Blog.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SUARAM: Death in custody perpetrator freed while witness to crime is victimised

Press Statement: 27 October 2010

Death in custody perpetrator freed while witness to crime is victimised

SUARAM condemns the police beating and arrest of K. Selvachandran, a witness in R. Gunasegaran’s death in custody inquest. He had testified during the inquest that he saw Lance Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib assaulted Gunasegaran before the suspect collapsed and died. On 25 October, the coroner’s court gave an “open verdict” into R Gunasegaran’s inquest because the cause of his death while in police custody could not be conclusively proven.

On the same day, K. Selvachandran was arrested at his home around 10pm by 5 plainclothes police officers and beaten up in front of his wife and children before he was taken away to the KL police contingent headquarters. The officers told Selvachandran’s wife, S. Saraswathy that he would be detained for 60 days, and may be extended to an additional 2 years. It should be noted that only 3 laws allow for such a long period of detention, namely the Internal Security Act, the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures) and the Emergency Ordinance.

SUARAM is extremely concerned with the arrest and detention of Selvachandran - as the police seemed to be sending a strong message that they can act with impunity with no regards to the rule of law, police professionalism and the law and procedure governing their conduct.  It cannot be a mere coincidence that Selvachandran was arrested so soon and further more he was detained under unspecified charges under draconian provisions that allow the police to detain a suspect without trial for up to two years. It is a blatant abuse of police power that points to police retaliation

SUARAM demands for the immediate release of Selvachandran and calls for Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Ismail Omar to walk the talk of his 4P (Proactive, Protective, Performance-oriented and People-oriented) plan by first curbing the culture of lawlessness and abuse of power in the police force as exemplified in the death of Gunasegaran and detention without trial of Selvachandran.

The IGP must ensure that police officers adhere to the laws and procedures that govern the arrest and detention of suspects, and they cannot act as they pleased to retaliate against a witness who testified against them. What message is being sent to other potential witnesses other than a strong warning not to testify against the police?   

SUARAM also calls for the implementation of the IPCMC as recommended by the Royal Commission on the Police in 2005 to hold the police accountable over abuse of power and human rights as clearly proven time and time again; the police cannot be relied upon to investigate themselves.

Released by,

Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar

1 comment:

  1. When the Police can act with such impunity we are in an age of very dark era of fear and intimidation.
    How many cases like that go unnoticed ? K.Selvachandran and the other 3 witnesses who testify against Lance Corporal Mohd.Faizal Mat Taib at Inquest into Gunasegaram's death in polis custody, are all brave Men who sacrifice their freedom so that TRUTH be revealed.
    Till today NO ONE has been charged for the over One Thousand deaths in M'sia Polis custody.
    Now, we know why? Who dare testify against the Polis ?
    Tallest buildings,high Income status means nothing when Good Men are locked away for speaking the Truth.
    Lancs Corporal Mohd.Faizal Mat Taib and the Coroner Siti Shakrah Mohtarudin,Racist Mahathir's Biro Tata Negara program all have blood on their hands.