Home Civil Society Voices 2017 Civil Society Voices IGP must tackle death in custody immediately or step down

IGP must tackle death in custody immediately or step down

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Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) condemns the death of Benedict A/L Thanilas in Jinjang Detention Centre on 10 July 2017.

Benedict A/L Thanilas was 44 years old and was detained for investigation under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985. He was unconscious when he was brought to the hospital at 6.06am. When the family arrived at the hospital at around 10am, they were informed that Benedict had passed away.

Benedict’s death is the ninth known case of death in custody in 2017 and seventh known death in police detention for 2017. His death is also the first known case of death during detention without trial under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.

Death in custody is the gravest human rights violation a state can inflict upon any individual and their family. The deprivation of life without the due process of law violates all known international law and human rights principles, and it is a direct violations of individual rights under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Furthermore, the court has ruled in the case of P Chandran that the health of detainees while they are in detention by the police is the full responsibility of the police. This is in line with international standards outlined in the Nelson Mandela Rules; it is an international standard that cannot be dismissed by the enforcement agency on a whim.

In the light of the unabated cases of deaths in custody in recent months, Suaram calls for the resignation of the inspector general of police for his poor track record in handling cases of deaths in police custody and the repeated failure in preventing and mitigating the issue of torture and death in police custody.

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Suaram reiterates its demand for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to investigate possible misconduct by the police and for a transparent investigation to take place immediately. The police officers responsible for the wellbeing of the detainee must also be suspended pending investigation.

Sevan Doraisamy is executive director of Suaram.

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