Wednesday, July 09, 2008

1,535 Deaths in Custody in Malaysia between 2003 and last year

"1,535 Deaths in Custody in Malaysia between 2003 and last year" (Bernama News, 8/7/08) - this was what was revealed at the Dewan Rakyat(Parliment) on Tuesday(8/7/2008).

There were 85 deaths recorded in police lock-ups during the 2003-2007 period. The Deputy Home Minister said that 77 was due to diseases, seven due to suicide and one due to fight in the cell.

Deaths due to diseases would reasonably end in hospitals not in police lock-ups, would it not.

The conditions of police lock-ups are pathetic - it is cages, with large numbers of persons and no proper bedding. Hygiene is also very bad.

Victims of a head injury (or a blow to the head) are normally kept in hospital for overnight observation - but here, the victim can get send back to the police lock-up -- not to any special lock-up alone(or with minimal number of detainees) with proper bedding where someone can monitor his condition. In the case of Veerasamy, this is what happened, the doctor send him back to the police lock-up with instructions that he be monitored carefully - but of course when he was returned to the lock-up, no one even informed the officers looking after the lock-up about the need to monitor him. He was just placed in a lock-up with many others... He could have become worse by reason of this kind of treatment and....

The same Veerasamy, again was sent to the hospital when he complaint of severe stomach abdominal pains - he had gastric - and had been suffering from gastric for some time. The hospital had the facility to do a 'gastro-scopy' but the doctor did not order a gastroscopy done. If it had been done, more likely than not, it would have become evident that he was in a serious condition - and there was a 'dangerous looking peptic ulcer'. It could have been treated - and Veerasamy may be still alive today.

Pressure to the abdomen - maybe by beating, etc.. caused the ulcer to rupture and several hours (not days) later, he was dead.

Was he beaten up - did some one cause his death? There was CCTV - but it did not have recording capacity - and as such, we will not easily know for sure what really happened. No use to have CCTV surveilance without having recording capabilities.

Veerasamy's death may also now be classified as "disease" - and this is not right.

If he was not in police custody, he could have gone to a good doctor - who would have investigated more and did a gastro-scopy - and he will well and alive today in all likelihood.

The sick and those with diseases must be sent to the hospital - and kept there until they are cured. So do not come now, and say that most who died in police custody did so by reason of diseases....I just find it too hard to believe.

If the death was caused by the kind of negligent behaviour demonstrated by the government doctor/s, then it should not be classified as just "diseases" - maybe we should say by reason of negligence - police negligence, doctor's negligence, etc..

7 due to suicide - how is that possible in a police lock-up -- more so when there is continuous CCTV surveillance, and there are others in the lock-up with the detainee in the majority of cases (usually there are 6 to 12 or more in lock-ups..). When arrested, belts ,etc are removed - so how was it possible for some one to kill themselves --- and here we are talking about 7. (7 out of 85).

Give us more details --- or do we have to wait for some Royal Commission to get more..


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