Wife blames police carelessness for husband’s lock-up death

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Janagi Nadarajah holds a picture of Benedict after returning from his funeral.

KUALA LUMPUR: The wife of a man who died in police custody at the Jinjang Detention Centre today blamed his death on police negligence.

Janagi Nadarajah, 40, said she had already informed the police that her husband, Benedict Thanilas, 44, needed eight types of medications daily because he had undergone bypass surgery and suffered from diabetes.

“The police knew of my husband’s condition, so why did they leave him alone in the cell?” she told reporters outside her home in Rumah Panjang Jinjang Utara.

She said she received a call from Benedict on July 7 to tell her that he was going to be transferred to the Sentul police headquarters for his statement to be recorded and that he was feeling feverish.

He had appeared to be doing well during the times she managed to speak and visit him, she added.

Janagi said Benedict usually required four shots of insulin a day, as well as a blood thinning medication and medication for gastritis.

She added the police officers might not have administered the medication properly.

Janagi said her husband was arrested on June 29. On the same day she was asked by police officers to bring the medications required by her husband.

Benedict was taken in for investigations for suspected drug dealing and was questioned for 13 days under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985.

Also present during the press conference were Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy and lawyer H Nandakumar.

According to Sevan, Benedict was found unconscious in his cell and pronounced dead at Hospital Kuala Lumpur at 6.06am.

Nandakumar said the preliminary post-mortem results showed Benedict had died from acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Benedict had previously gone for a bypass in 2006 and a few years later had suffered a stroke.