Six men allege torture during 80-day remand

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PETALING JAYA: Six men have claimed that they suffered torture at the hands of police officers while they were under remand for 80 days.

Rishikumar Kuppusamy, his brother Krishnamurthy and his friends Sathiskumar Navindran, Sudesan Muthaiah, Jegam Silvarajah and Thinakaran Rengopan were arrested last Dec 11 in Tapah on suspicion of involvement in a robbery.

Speaking at a press conference at the Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) headquarters here today, Rishikumar said that during their time in custody they were both physically and psychologically abused.

“When I asked why we were being beaten, a police officer told me that we were suspects in a robbery case and that the police wanted us to sign a confession saying that we were guilty,” he said.

According to Rishikumar, he and the other five were beaten with shoes and cables wrapped in black tape and were forced to strip, dance and drink water from an ashtray as well as urine.

He added that the six of them were taken from police station to police station where fresh remand applications were made so that they could be detained far longer than the normal remand period of 10 days.

“Were taken to 14 different police stations and up till today we have still not been charged with committing any offence.”

He named the police stations as follows: Sungai Buloh, Klang Utara, Petaling Jaya, Kajang, Klang Selatan, Nilai, Port Dickson, Seremban, Teluk Intan, Tapah, Gombak, Ampang Jaya, USJ and Kuala Selangor.

Rishikumar was released after 80 days, but the other five are now being investigated under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca). Under Poca, suspects are typically detained for a period of 21 days.

Rishikumar’s lawyer Sashi Devan said he knew of the case only 70 days after the six men had been taken into custody.

“It is clear that the rights of an arrested person are not being accorded to these six men,” he said. “One of their rights is to contact a solicitor of their choice and a relative.”

Sashi said it was Rishikumar’s sister who contacted him and she did so as soon as she learned of the detention, about 70 days after the arrest.