Friday, July 23, 2010

Death in Custody: Could be more than 3,000 since 1990...

In response to Rocky Bru's querries in his post, Doing a number with numbers: 1,805 died in custody in Malaysia, 2003-2009?, I have looked again at the numbers that I know. I do hope that MPs and Senators do ask questions (and then make public the answers, for some of them may just keep it to themselves) about death in custody on a regular basis.

How many deaths in custody in Malaysia?
From 1990 - September 2004 - there were 1,583 + 150 =  deaths in custody [covered prisons & police lock-ups only - not the other places of detentions like Detention Without Trial Detention Centres, Immigration Detention Centres, Drug..MACC...]

How many deaths in police custody specifically?
From 1990 - September 2004 - 150 deaths in police custody.
Between 2000 - 2006 - 108 died in police custody
Between 2003 - 2007 - 85 deaths in police lock-ups
From 2000 - 2009 - 147 died in police lock-ups (the word 'police custody' was not used.
* SUARAM 2009 Report - In 2009, until 5/12/2009 - 7 deaths in police custody 1 in MACC custody

In December 2008, it was revealed that in the last 6 years (2002-2008) about 1,300 foreigners died in custody in Malaysia

The problem is that the government does not give clear statistics, i.e. yearly figures and where they died? and how did they die. Even when they do reveal, they give figures for different periods, 1990 - 2004, 2000-2006, 2003-2007... why can't they always give say from 1990 - ...then, we can do the math ourselves.

Sometimes they use the word police custody...and sometimes, they use the word 'police-lockups'. We are interested in the number that died in police custody...for that will cover deaths in interrogation rooms, whilst persons are being transported to the police station, witnesses not arrested who came in and died, etc...

All these information should naturally be on the Police Website...or the Home Ministry Website - but they are not. Died by reason of AIDS - this may happen in prisons, detention centres...but most likely not in police custody. Even then, the deaths should have happened in hospitals surely...whilst they were still in custody - we need information about this too.

A total of 279 suspects have been shot dead by the police between 2000 and 2009, while 147 died in police lockup during the same period, revealed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today.  Malaysiakini, 28/6/2010, 426 deaths at hands of the police since 2000
Relying merely on data provided by the government, it has been disclosed that there have been 150 deaths from 1990 until 2004 (10.7 per year), 108 deaths between 2000 and 2006 (18 per year), and, 85 deaths between 2003 and 2007 (21.25 per year).

In Malaysia "...from 1990 till September last year [2004], a total of 1,583 deaths among prisoners were recorded in 28 prisons nationwide, with the highest number in 2003 when 279 inmates died. During the same period, 150 detainees died in police lock-ups or custody…" - Malaysiakini, 7/2/2005

‘…Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today revealed that 108 deaths occurred during police custody between 2000 and 2006…’ – Malaysiakini, 23/4/2007
‘…There were 85 deaths recorded in police lock-ups during the 2003-2007…-Bernama, 8/7/2008.  - About 3,000 deaths in custody in Malaysia in the last 20 years...Deaths in police custody have been on the rise

"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). - 1,535 Deaths in Custody in Malaysia between 2003 and last year

We recall that it was reported in the media in December 2008, that "About 1,300 illegal foreigners have died during detention in the past six years, Malaysia Nanban quoted Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam as saying. He said many of them died in immigration detention centres, prisons and police lockups because they were denied medical treatment at the right time.” [Star, 18/12/2008, ‘1,300 foreign detainees died due to neglect’] This was again reiterated ABC News(28/5/2009) Malaysia detention centres 'violating rights' .The Bar Council tells us that, "...The Dewan Rakyat figure would mean that an average of one migrant dies in custody almost every day!" - Bar Council: Deaths of migrants in prisons, rehabilitation and detention centres - Another Burmese migrant dies in Alor Star Detention Centre

 Go and see most post marked 'Death in Custody' in my site and the MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) site

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