EDICT: Thorough inquest via Coroner’s Court needed after yet another custodial death in Gombak

EDICT urged the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to stay out of the investigation as cases of death in custody are subject to Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is mandatory to be investigated by the Coroner's Court only.
EDICT urged the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to stay out of the investigation as cases of death in custody are subject to Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is mandatory to be investigated by the Coroner's Court only.

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The government must conduct a thorough inquest to find out who is responsible for the custodial death of 42-year-old security guard Sivabalan Subramaniam, Eliminating Deaths and Abuse In Custody Together (EDICT) insisted today.

In a statement today, the group added that despite repeated criticism towards the government and the police, those institutions are not taking the issue seriously after yet another custodial death at the Gombak police station.

“EDICT would like to emphasise that an inquest must be conducted to find out the cause of death as well as the party responsible for causing the death.

“Criticism, reprimands and warnings have been repeatedly hurled at the government and the police to stop the deaths that occur in custody but we see that the government and the police are not serious in addressing this problem,” the group said.

However, the group urged the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to stay out of the investigation as cases of death in custody are subject to Section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is mandatory to be investigated by the Coroner's Court only.

Section 334 of the CPC requires the police, in the event of a custodial death, to notify the nearest available magistrate in order for an inquiry into the cause of death to be held.

“The investigation by Suhakam will not be able to provide justice to both parties between the victim's family and the police and no follow-up action can be taken after the results of the investigation are announced,” the group added.

Earlier today, Klang lawmaker Charles Santiago demanded a public inquiry led by Suhakam and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) be conducted into the recent custodial death.

The MP added that all police officers involved in the arrest of Sivabalan must be suspended until investigation into the latter’s death has ended.

Charles added that this came hot on the heels of another death in custody involving another ethnic Indian, A. Ganapathy, at the same Gombak district police headquarters.

EDICT also called for the Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to quickly be established to ensure check and balance within the police.

Yesterday, news portal FreeMalaysiaToday reported that Sivabalan died after less than an hour in police custody.

Tamilar Munnetra Kalagam Malaysia member Iswaree Subramaniam, who was at the police station, claimed that the man’s family was shocked that Sivabalan Subramaniam was detained to assist in the investigation at 11.45am yesterday morning.

The news portal reported that Iswaree questioned the time difference between the incident report and the allegation Sivabalan was still in critical condition “a few hours after his death”.

Iswaree added that police arrested Sivabalan in connection with an extortion case that took place in 2016, FreeMalaysiaToday reported yesterday.

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