Friday, February 17, 2017

Malaysia: End impunity for unlawful deaths in custody (Amnesty International)

15 February 2017
ASA 28/5698/2017

Malaysia: End impunity for unlawful deaths in custody

The Malaysian authorities must immediately order an independent and impartial investigation into the recent death of a 44 year old man in police custody and address the alarming number of deaths in detention and the lack of adequate investigations into possible human rights violations involved in such. At stake are two of the key human rights, which are non-derogable under international human rights law, namely the right to life and freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

On 6 February 2017, S Balamurugan was arrested with two of his friends for burglary. The following day, he was brought to court for a remand hearing. S Balamurungan’s lawyer stated in a police report that he could not walk and that he was bleeding severely from his mouth during his appearance in court. The presiding Magistrate rejected the police officers’ request to remand S Balamurugan in police custody and ordered that he be released and sent to a hospital for medical treatment.
However, the police appear to have failed to comply with the Magistrate’s orders.When his family went to the North Klang Police Station later that day to wait for his release, they were informed that S Balamurugan had been re-arrested. The day after, his family was informed that he had died. When his wife went to identify S Balamurugan’s body, they said that it was badly bruised and covered with blood, despite a post-mortem which stated that he had died from a heart attack.

An unlawful custodial death is a serious human rights violation. All deaths in custody must be promptly, independently and effectively investigated. Where there are grounds for believing that the cause of death was unlawful, and where sufficient, admissible evidence is found, suspected perpetrators, including those with command responsibility, must be prosecuted in fair trials.

Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian government to independently, impartially and effectively investigate the death of S Balamurugan, immediately suspend police officers allegedly involved in his death, and ensure that those suspected of responsibility are held to account.

Amnesty International has monitored other cases in Malaysia in which responsible authorities have not been held accountable for unlawful deaths in custody. For example, in 2013, N Dharmendran died from injuries sustained while in police custody. Despite photographs shared by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that showed severe injuries and bruising on his body, no one has yet been held to account for his death. This case and many others illustrate the apparent failure of Malaysian authorities to hold police officers and other government officials accountable for unlawful conduct and human rights violations.

1 comment:

Hakimi Abdul Jabar said...


Charles, why don't you write a forceful 1000 word maximum article on the frequency of custodial deaths in M'sia and the latest Fed Ct decision on the A Kugan custodial death & damages case for publication on a global news provider?

From that 1000 words, set aside a 100-150 word paragrapgh on your legal opinion & stated statistics etc. Facts & figures. Especially on the impunity of government/public servants, the executive arm of the govt.

I'll intro you as a highly respected human rights lawyer in that para. in the published article. One is due this week anyway! 16 to 18.11.2017. Write on the issue while it's still hot!

U can email me at I should be on your blog mailing list. Looking forward to our future co-operation.