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Police custody death: No explanation for grieving family

 | June 29, 2012

Suaram has taken the authorities to task for their continued silence over the death of S Isparan while in police custody.

PETALING JAYA: It has been a month since S Isparan’s sudden death while in police custody and until now there has been no explanation from the authorities.

According to human rights group Suaram, Isparan’s family had approached the Attorney- General, Chief Justice, OCPD of Sungai Siput and even Suhakam but have yet to be told of the circumstances of his death.

Isparan, 37, passed away while in detention at Sungai Siput Utara police station on May 29.

Post-mortem results showed that Isparan died of “perforated peptic ulcer with peritonitis”.

This left his family perplexed as he had never suffered a history of gastric problems.

Suaram, in statement today, expressed deep regret at the authorities’ persistent silence over the matter.

“Suaram is gravely concerned at the state of accountability and responsibility of the police towards Malaysians.

“It is with regret we recall the untimely demise of M Ulaganathan in 2003. An inquest was only held in 2007 after four years of endless letters to the government, memorandums and press conferences,” Suaram said.

Ulaganathan was 19 when he died while in police custody at the Kajang district police headquarters.

Three years later, his mother, Tamil Selvee, 56, sued the police force for negligence over his death.

She went on to win this suit in 2008, five years after his death.

“We urge the government and police to take responsibility for Isparan’s death and to take subsequent action against the officers in charge through an independent inquest,” said Suaram.

Lack of proper reforms

The human rights group also compared the Malaysian police force’s lackadaisical attitude to that of the Australian force.

It noted that a Northern Territory police officer Sergeant William McDonnell had apologised to the family of 27-year-old Kwementyaye Briscoe for his death in a custody cell under McDonnel’s supervision in January.

While lauding McDonnel’s move, Suaram lamented it would be impossible to see such an example in Malaysia.

It said that with the lack of proper reforms to the police institution and formation of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), an inquest has to be established each time there is a death in custody.


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