GEORGE TOWN: A 17-year-old inmate is fighting for his life at a hospital in Alor Setar after he was allegedly beaten up by a warden at a government correctional facility for youths in Pokok Sena, Kedah, last week.
Human rights activist Asiah Abd Jalil said a worker at the Asrama Akhlak Pokok Sena, who found the boy in a “weak” state sent him to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital where doctors have since been attempting to stabilise his condition.
She alleged that the Langkawi-born teenager was assaulted five days ago and had been left in a lockup without any medical attention for two days before a worker noticed him.
“His urine is bloody and he is currently receiving treatment at the hospital. The doctors confirmed that if he had not been brought in for medical attention sooner, he could have died,” she said.
“The doctors insisted that a police report be lodged, owing to the severity of the boy’s injuries,” she told FMT.
Asiah claimed that despite a police report being lodged, the warden was “still walking free” at the facility.
“The police report was made by the victim himself although he was in a weak state. The investigating officer came to the hospital to take the details,” she said.
Asiah also claimed that the officer from the Kota Setar district police headquarters answered the phone rudely when she contacted him on behalf of the boy’s family.
“The officer told us that the state CID chief had ordered the matter to be resolved internally. Until today, there has been no action,” she said.
Asiah said the boy was from a poor family and had been placed under remand at the facility after he was charged at the Alor Setar High Court for peddling drugs.
He was charged under Section 39(A)(2) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for possession of illegal drugs. The offence carries a penalty of a minimum of five years’ imprisonment to life and whipping.
“The boy pleaded not guilty as he was forced to sell the drugs by another man. The boy is still under remand while awaiting a trial date. He was put in the centre as he is a juvenile,” Asiah added.
Meanwhile, a spokesman at the facility denied claims of abuse and said the boy was taken for medical treatment as he was ill.
“He had fever. He is okay now and has been discharged,” a man by the name of ‘Johari’ said when FMT called the facility’s general line.
When contacted, Kedah CID chief SAC Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said he would check on the matter.
On Nov 18, Bernama reported that Mohamad Shukri Kassim, 17, died at the same facility.
Shukri, who was placed there under remand for alleged housebreaking was found dead in his room by a warden.
A post-mortem revealed the teen had died from injuries to the head and stomach after being hit with a blunt object.
Police believe Shukri got into a fight after he allegedly took a piece of fried chicken belonging to a fellow inmate.
Ten inmates aged 14 to 17 were arrested for investigation.