Guna’s death is police’s fault, claims lawyer

news: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/142524
Joseph Sipalan
Sep 13, 10
3:29pm

The coroner’s court today was told that the blame for R Gunasegaran’s death in custody fell squarely on the police for their “actions and omissions”.

Counsel M Visvanathan, who is representing Gunasegaran’s family, claimed that the police had “expedited” Gunasegaran’s death by assaulting him while he was in detention and failing to provide him emergency first aid when he collapsed.

Visvanathan (left) added that the police officers involved in the case had failed in carrying out their duties, accusing them of refusing to act on information that they gathered from witnesses’ statements.

“It appears as if there is a conspiracy among several parties in this case to keep the truth behind Gunasegaran’s death from surfacing,” he said in his submission at the inquest.

Visvanathan went further by accusing the six police witnesses of lying to the court and giving statements that contradicted each other on numerous issues.

He maintained that Gunasegaran died from a large injury measuring nearly a foot long and five centimetres deep on his chest caused by a kick allegedly made by Lans Corporal Mohd Faizal Mat Taib, and not due to a drug overdose as claimed by deputy public prosecutor Shashitah Mohamad Hanifa.

Gunasegaran, 31, who was arrested on a drug charge, collapsed while being fingerprinted at the facility between 6.45pm and 7pm while in police custody and was pronounced dead at 7.40pm on July 16 at Kuala Lumpur Hospital last year.

The police said in its official findings that Gunasegaran died due to drug abuse.

Visvanathan however agreed with Shahsitah’s argument that the police officers involved had abused their powers and failed to follow procedure when carrying out their duties.

Officers were lax

Shahsitah earlier contended that the officers involved had failed to file a report on Gunasegaran’s arrest as required, neither have they filed a report to this day on Gunasegaran’s death in custody.

She added that the officers who detained Gunasegaran and four others in an anti-crime raid on July 16 last year did not make any notes in their pocket books.

The list went on with a clear violation of procedure when they recorded statements from the detainee witnesses at 2.30am and also contradictions between what was written in the station diary and the testimony of the officers regarding the time of the raid.

Earlier when taking the stand, Sergeant Major Rajinder Singh shot down an entry in the Sentul police station diary which recorded that the operation started at 3pm, saying that it was a mistake in the station diary while maintaining that the operation started at 5.30pm.

Shahsitah stressed that this failure to follow proper procedure shows a lack of responsibility among the officers involved and opened the police to “avoidable” accusations.

“However, what is clear is that the testimony of the experts must be considered by the court and it is difficult for the court not to accept the testimony that the cause of death is drug-related,” she said.

Coroner Siti Shakirah Mohtarudin has set aside Oct 21 to present the court’s findings.

Suhakam regrets police arrests, 30 GMI activists released

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 22:58:00 (malay mail)

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commision of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) expresses its regret over the inability of the public to assemble peacefully during the 50 years of ISA vigil that took place on Aug 1 at Dataran Petaling Jaya. SUHAKAM was present at the event to observe and monitor the situation.

SUHAKAM, through its observation, found that the right to assembly was denied during the event as the authorities stopped the gathering and dispersed the crowds with much haste. Proper warning and ample time to disperse were not given by the authorities, thus resulting in a commotion where 22 men and 8 women were arrested because they were suspected as participants of the vigil.

SUHAKAM has consistently urged the Government to consider and take into account the recommendations made by the Commission on freedom of assembly as expressed in the reports relating to the Kesas Highway and KLCC “Bloody Sunday” Inquiries. SUHAKAM would therefore recommend that in the event where the police finds it necessary to control or disperse a crowd, proportionate and nonviolent methods should be employed.

SUHAKAM strongly reiterates its stand that the people have the right to participate in peaceful assemblies, as all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms as guaranteed by Article 10 (1) (b) of the Federal Constitution. The right to freedom of assembly is also guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 20 (1).

SUHAKAM also wishes to address the ordeal of the detainees of the vigil at the Petaling Jaya police station where the authorities requested the lawyers to provide separate witness statements. This unusual practice forced the lawyers to pull out from giving legal counsel to the detainees. Apart from that, SUHAKAM feels that the authorities could have expedited the process of bail at the police station as the detainees had to endure long hours before they could be released.

However, SUHAKAM wishes to record that full cooperation was extended by the Police to the Commission which enabled  SUHAKAM to observe and monitor the 50 years of ISA vigil and the recording of statements at the Petaling Jaya police station.

TAN SRI HASMY AGAM,
Chairman
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia

News source: http://mmail.com.my/content/45087-suhakam-regrets-police-arrests-30-gmi-activists-released