Monday, June 1, 2015

DAP decries complicity of cops in custodial deaths

6:24PM May 31, 2015

By Terence Netto

DAP decries complicity of cops in custodial deaths

Malaysians can no longer ignore instances of police responsibility for custodial deaths after the discovery of mass graves at the Thai-Malaysia border pointed to security forces' complicity in the brutalisation of Rohingya refugees.

DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran said the phenomenon of custodial deaths had assumed the status of a national stain over which the police are nonchalant.

But now that the unmarked graves of Rohingyas on the Malaysia-Thai border point to police complicity, the cops must find their apathy unconscionable.

“What more will it take for our police to realise that human life is not something one can be casual about and that refugees and criminal suspects cannot be treated with impunity,” queried the MP for Ipoh Barat, a frequent critic of police apathy on the issue of custodial deaths.

The federal legislator welcomed news of the suspension of 12 police personnel in connection with the trafficking of Rohingya refugees but he regretted what he described as “the continued police apathy towards custodial deaths on the home front.”

Kulasegaran (photo) was speaking in the wake of the death of Shashikumar Selvam, a prisoner of Johor police who was found dead earlier this week.

Police claim Shashikumar hanged himself while relatives of the dead person suspect foul play.

Shashikumar is the latest case in a long series of deaths of suspects or convicts while in police custody, an inventory that has led human rights advocates to clamour for the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

The panel was a recommendation of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the management of the police force that the administration of then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi empaneled in 2003.

The setting up of IPCMC was stiff-armed by a cabal of senior police officers who said they were opposed to it. The government backpedaled in the face of senior officers' resistance.

A watered down version of the IPCMC, the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission (EAIC) was instituted but this panel has been unable to stem the tide of custodial deaths.

“It is a toothless agency and should be abolished in preference to the IPCMC which is the mechanism that will remove the national stain of custodial deaths and bring closure to the issue,” said Kulasegaran.

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