• EDICT Malaysia

Second death in police custody in Kuala Lumpur this month

1) EDICT has learned that yesterday, 25 June, about 12.30 pm, another person died in custody (DIC) in Dang Wangi lockup, Kuala Lumpur.

2) The victim is said to be a male Malaysian citizen in his mid-forties.

3) As of 8 am this morning, EDICT could not locate any statement by the police concerning his death.

4) This is the second death in custody (DIC) in the KL police district this month. (The first was “Dhan Bahadur” on 2 June, in Jinjang lockup.)

5) According to Parliamentary responses, an average of 16 lives have been lost every year in police lockups in Malaysia.

6) Evidence at inquests shows systemic failures in police investigations. It is high time the IGP and the Home Minister take concrete steps to end deaths in custody.

7) Because of the frequency of DIC, EDICT calls upon Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Hamid Bador and Home Minister Dato' Seri Hamzah bin Zainudin, to take steps to assure that investigations of DIC are independent, professional and fast-tracked. Minimally, they should:

a) Establish a national list of DIC Investigating Officers (IO), preferably one from each state, of rank at least ASP.

b) Appoint an officer from the national list as IO for any DIC case within 2 hours of the reported time of death (TOD). Use a rotation system to select the IO, to avoid suggestions of bias – providing of course that there are no conflicts of interest in the choice of officer.

c) Require that the IO must report to superiors in his own state, not in the state where the DIC occurred.

d) Require the IO to be on-site as soon as possible, but no later than 12 hours from the reported TOD.

e) Require the IO to gather all evidence (photos, sketches, copies of police diaries, CCTV recordings, witness statements) within 72 hours of the reported TOD – this requires placing of sufficient officers under the IO’s command, fast-tracking of work by police forensics officers and enhanced cooperation from agencies such as the Chemistry Department and MIMOS.

f) Provide training to DIC IOs about the inquest process mandated by the Criminal Procedure Code (section 328-341A) and coroner’s findings in previous DIC cases.

g) Include, in the Terms of Reference for the IOs, evidence gathering to assist coroners to make decisions regarding unlawful acts or omissions which may have led to the death.

8) In this instance of DIC in Dang Wangi yesterday, we call upon the CPO of Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim, to name the IO, the reporting structure, and the target date given to the IO for submission of the completed investigation report to the coroner.

9) The culture of treating lives like inanimate objects must end.

EDICT 26 June 2020

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