Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is the Minister justifying torture (as long as it does not kill)?

The law has been amended in Malaysia - and the prosecution/police generally cannot anymore use statements or confessions obtained during police custody.

113. Admission of statements in evidence.

(1) Except as provided in this section, no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of a police investigation made under this Chapter shall be used in evidence. - Criminal Procedure Code

This law came into being recently, I believe, after there were serious concerns about the methods employed (including torture) that resulted in these 'confessions'.

There are a few exceptions, possibly like if the charge was about the making of false statements, etc

Hence, really there is no reason to 'force', 'threaten', 'beat up', 'pour boiling water', get the suspect to confess or make any statement..., is there?

Hence, we wonder what really is the reasons for 'torture' in police custody.

Maybe, the police (who may not have sufficient evidence) is just taking the law into their own hands and imposing punishment on those they feel are 'guilty'. The duty of the police is to investigate. The duty of the prosecution is to to decide whether to prosecute..and then prosecute. The duty of the court is to determine whether a person is guilty or not... and, if the court finds a person guilty, then the court shall sentence in accordance with the law.

It is very wrong for the police to arbitrarily take to 'imposing sentence' on persons - by beating, etc...and even sometimes just shooting them dead.

Presumption of Innocence Until Proven Guilty - this is something that must not only be grilled into the police but also our Home Minister ... who in his statements so far (that I have read) seem to not yet said anything calling on the police to stop using 'torture' to illicit statements from accused.

The Minister seems to be saying that it is OK - provided a person does not get killed in custody. This is not enough.

The Minister must be strong against any form of torture of persons arrested and/or in the custody of the police.

Enforcement officers are often caught in a dilemma, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar.

"They are caught between protecting law-abiding citizens and ensuring that human rights are not violated in the process of enforcing the law.

"If someone dies in custody, there is no compromise. We will investigate and take action.

"Equally, it also violates human rights if criminals are allowed to hurt people. The people also have the right to feel safe and secure."

The home minister urged the public not to hail criminals as heroes and enforcement officers as demons for doing their job.- New Straits Times, 29/1/2009, Syed Hamid: Don't demonise cops

Even after the death of Kugan, the Minister sides with the police and in fact goes on to 'demonize' Kugan. Show some human decency. Show some respect. Kugan is no more here to be able to defend himself - and the Minister takes this opportunity to paint him as a 'bad criminal'. What is the Minister doing? Is he trying to say it is OK for the police to kill persons in custody?

Syed Hamid said initial investigations into Kugan's arrest revealed that the deceased had links to a gang which was believed to be involved in 19 robberies.

He said three of the gang members, including Kugan, were arrested but the gang leader was still at large.

Described as violent and dangerous, the gang is top on the police's wanted list.

"The gang, usually armed with parang, would stage an accident before robbing their victims.

"I am not pinpointing anyone, just explaining what the gang had been doing."

Syed Hamid declined to reveal evidence on the gang as investigations were still ongoing.- New Straits Times, 29/1/2009, Syed Hamid: Don't demonise cops

And, it seems that all that alleged 'beating and torture' of Kugan was worth it, as they got Kugan to give the police evidence..

He said Kugan had given information in his statement to the police, adding that police were trying to round up the gang. - New Straits Times, 29/1/2009, Syed Hamid: Don't demonise cops

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