Malaysia: Newest case of death in custody continues to be unsettling

Malaysia: Newest case of death in custody continues to be unsettling

[MEDIA STATEMENT]

Attribution: Gwen Lee, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia

“The death of 29-year-old detainee in police custody, G. Ganeshwaran, while in police custody is shocking and deeply concerning. Amnesty International is alarmed by the continued increase in statistics surrounding deaths in custody in Malaysia over the years and the lack of accountability for numerous cases of death in custody, as well as ill-treatment of detainees.

“G. Ganeshwaran was arrested on Thursday, 14 December and was in good health, according to his family members. His family has mentioned that he had complained about being beaten during his time in lockup, appeared sickly and complained of breathing difficulties. He had died before reaching Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah to receive treatment.”

The death of Ganeshwaran raises alarming questions of how criminal suspects are treated by  the Malaysian police during police investigations. Amnesty International notes that investigations into reports of police abuses are very rare and only occur when there is extensive pressure from the media and human rights organisations.

“Amnesty International Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to independently, impartially and effectively investigate the death of G. Ganeshwaran and to ensure that those suspected of involvement are held to account.

“We also call upon the Malaysian government to take steps towards the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its Optional Protocol and to incorporate their provisions into domestic law.”

Background

G.Ganeshwaran, 29 years old, was detained for allegedly breaking into a factory in Bukit Tinggi and was supposed to be remanded till Thursday. South Klang police chief Assistant Commissioner Shamsul Amar Ramli said the deceased and another prisoner were being taken from Shah Alam Central Lockup by investigators to be questioned around 10.15am when the deceased claimed he felt uncomfortable.

According to him, upon arrival at the interview room at the South Klang police headquarters, the inmate complained of asthma and nausea before proceeding to vomit around 11.15am. Shamsul said an ambulance arrived at the location an hour later before the inmate was attended to by a medical officer who stated the inmate looked healthy and was talking normally.He said despite showing no signs of discomfort, the prisoner was transported to Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah and died along the way at around 12.40pm.

Amnesty International has monitored other cases in Malaysia in which responsible authorities have not been held accountable for unlawful deaths in custody. This case and many others illustrate the apparent failure of Malaysian authorities to hold police officers and other government officials accountable for unlawful conduct and human rights violations.

Public Document
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For more information or to arrange an interview, please call Amnesty International Malaysia’s office in Petaling Jaya, Selangor on:
+603 7955 2680 or
email: aimalaysia@aimalaysia.org
twitter & facebook: @AmnestyMy

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