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Deaths in prison surpassing those in police custody

 | May 30, 2015

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II says that in this year alone, there are more deaths in prison than in police custody.


GEORGE TOWN: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy has observed that more deaths are happening in prison than in police custody. “In police custody they are accustomed to using force to extract information.”

He was commenting on the death of 22-year-old prisoner, Shashikumar Selvam. “It shows a worrying new trend of how there are more deaths in prison than in police custody,” said Ramasamy. “This is a serious case as he died in prison and not in police custody.”

“There were marks on his body. How come? Once you are in prison you are supposed to be less manhandled, not more so than in police custody.”

This year alone, he added, there were four deaths in prison and not in police custody. “All the four deaths reported in Penang were in prison,” he said.

The EAIC (Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission), he pointed out, was more concerned about the deaths in police custody than in prison. This commission, formed through an act of Parliament, has the power to open an investigation into cases like Shashikumar’s, he pointed out. “However they are talking more about deaths in police custody than in prison.”

Ramasamy is the Chairman of the Penang Police Task Force for deaths in custody which was formed in 2013 together with Jagdeep Singh and Afif Bahardin, both Exco members.

The task force was formed to monitor the deaths in police custody, and according to statistics, there were nine deaths last year in Penang. The Task Force, according to Ramasamy, has written to the Attorney-General and the Chief Police Officer on the need to investigate these deaths.


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