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Police top brass must respond to outrage over miscreant officers

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Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (Edict) calls on the inspector general of police to explain the inaction of the Department of Integrity and Compliance to Standards (Jabatan Integriti dan Pematuhan Standard or Jips) over a report of serious misconduct by a police officer.

On 22 January, lawyer M Visvanathan emailed a letter to the Jips director (email address: [email protected]). Ten days later, Jips had not even acknowledged receipt of the letter.

In the letter, Visvanathan reported the misconduct of Sergeant Ariffin Ismail. He asked that a disciplinary investigation be commenced on three matters, as follows:

First, on 20 and 21 January 2019, during an inquest hearing before Coroner Mahyon Talib (judge of the Sessions Court no. 15, Kuala Lumpur), Ariffin repeatedly failed to satisfactorily answer questions put to him by Visvanathan and by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nurliyana Mohd Jafri. The sergeant disobeyed the coroner’s instruction to him that he answer as directed. Because of the sergeant’s belligerence, the coroner stood down the hearing for several minutes.

Second, on 10 July 2017, Sergeant Ariffin contravened Rule 7 of the Lockup Standing Orders when he brought tobacco into the cell of detainee Benedict Thanilas (who subsequently died in custody) in the Jinjang lock-up. The sergeant admitted to this offence while he was under oath.

Third, he gave untruthful testimony when he said, under oath, that he personally assisted and moved the unconscious Benedict out of his cell. The sergeant, when shown a CCTV recording of what happened on that day, agreed that his earlier testimony was false.

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Edict notes that the courtroom drama and revelations have been widely reported in the media and that the public have expressed outrage over the sergeant’s conduct.

Edict calls upon Inspector General Hamid Bador to ensure that action is taken speedily against the sergeant and to inform the public.

Edict notes that the sergeant was a corporal when he committed misconduct in the lock-up – and that his misconduct was not addressed by those who investigated the death of Benedict Thanilas on 10 July 2017.

Edict calls upon the inspector general to investigate and inform the public why action was not taken in 2017 against the sergeant.

Edict further calls upon the inspector general to instruct Jips to attend all inquests into deaths in custody and initiate investigations, as warranted.

Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together, EDICT

31 January 2020

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