Did This 26-Year-Old Detainee Die Of Epilepsy, Or Was He Beaten Up By The Police?

26-year-old Agin Raj was said to have died of asphyxia while he was in police custody, but bruises on his body tells his family otherwise.

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A 26-Year-Old Lorry Driver Has Died In The Bukit Mertajam Hospital While Under Police Custody On 7 June 2014

Agin Raj succumbed to his injuries at the Seberang Jaya Hospital on June 7, 2014.

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Another case of custodial death has taken place in Penang. This time it's a lorry driver who died in the Bukit Mertajam hospital yesterday.

His case was highlighted by Deputy Chief Minister II and Perai assemblyman P Ramasamy, who met reporters at the Forensic Department of the Seberang Jaya hospital where a post-mortem is currently being conducted to ascertain Agin Raj's cause of death.

Agin Raj Sunmarkkan Naidu Was Detained At The Bandar Perda Police Lock-up On 2 June 2014 Under Suspicion Of Iron Theft

Agin Raj Sunmarkkan Naidu, 26, was detained on June 2 for suspected iron theft in the Prai Industrial area where he worked.

Agin Raj came from a broken family, which lives in Kampung Mainroad in Prai. His father is detained in Penang prison in a drug related case. It is learnt that Agin Raj has been detained twice before, between 2010 and 2012, and he tested positive for drugs on both accounts.

On 5 June 2014, Agin Was Admitted To The Hospital After Suffering From Fits. Two Days Later, He Died Following An Epileptic Attack.

He was remanded for four days in the Bandar Perda police lock-up before he was admitted to the hospital on June 5, for suffering fits.

S. Agin Raj Naidu had allegedly died at the hospital following an epileptic attack on Saturday after being taken to the hospital from the Bandar Perda police lock-up.

Agin's Distraught Family Noticed Bruises On His Lips, Wrists And Legs When They Visited Him At The Hospital. Agin Was Cuffed To The Bed And Was Writhing In Pain.

From left: Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy and Regina Devi at the Seberang Jaya Hospital yesterday. Regina Devi claimed there were injuries on the body and legs of her deceased brother.

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Regina said when she and their mother, Sivapakiam Palchamy, 47, visited her brother in the hospital on June 5, he was writhing in pain, screaming to be released from being handcuffed and did not seem to recognise his family. She noticed bruises around his lips, wrists and legs.

According To His Sister Regina Devi, Agin Complained That Police Had Beaten Him Up While In Lock-Up

Recounting the case, she said Agin was locked-up at the district police headquarters where he was remanded between June 3 and 6, but on June 5 he suffered from epileptic seizures. “He was taken to Bukit Mertajam Hospital and placed in the Intensive Care Unit. His hands and legs were chained to the bed. He could not recognise my mother and seemed delusional. “But he told my mother he was in pain and that the police beat him up in the lock-up. Because of the pain, he tried to bite at the chains to release himself,” said the customs officer at a factory.

Police Did Not Allow The Family To Give Agin An Isotonic Drink. When Told That The Chain Was Causing Him Pain, A Doctor Said Agin Was Displaying The Behaviour Of An Alcoholic Who Did Not Get His Fix.

Ramasamy (L) and Regina at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.

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She added when they brought an isotonic drink for her brother, the police on duty did not allow it, and said he could only have the warm water provided by the hospital.

She claimed Agin was not given food at the hospital as the doctor said, being an alcoholic, he must be put on drips. “I told the police to release the chains as he complained of pain but they refused saying that he was aggressive. It hurt my mother and I to see Agin suffering in so much pain. “I asked the doctor what was wrong with my brother but she said that was how alcoholics behaved when they do not get their fix,” she said.

Regina Devi Says They Were Not Given Enough Time To Engage A Lawyer Nor Raise Bail. "If I Could Have Raised The Full Amount Sooner, Perhaps I Could Have Saved Him."

Regina Devi Says They Were Not Given Enough Time To Engage A Lawyer Nor Raise Bail.

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His sister, Regina Devi, said on June 6, Agin Raj was charged for theft of steel objects, and advised he would be fined RM2,500 if he pleaded guilty, while bail was set at RM8,000. He was charged while in hospital where a magistrate and interpreter was present.

Regina said the family did not have time to engage a lawyer to guide her brother. She also complained that the investigation officer was reluctant to meet with her to discuss the case, and refused to provide details. "Why did they have to impose such a high bail? When he was admitted, he couldn't even walk and even seemed delusional," she added.

“We had to pay RM8,000 to bail him out, but I could only manage to accumulate half the amount. “If I could have raised the full amount sooner, perhaps I could have saved him,” she said at a press conference called by Ramasamy at the Seberang Jaya Hospital yesterday.

They Believe Agin Was Beaten Up Under Police Custody

“I believe my brother was beaten up while under police custody as there were marks on his body and his legs are also swollen.” She claimed the death would probably not have occurred if she was able to raise his bail sum earlier.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II And Prai Assemblyman P Ramasamy Who Suspects That Police Were "Unprofessional And Inhumane", Is Demanding For An Inquiry

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II And Prai Assemblyman P Ramasamy

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Ramasamy, who is also Prai assemblyman, said his death was suspicious.

Ramasamy said he wants the hospital authorities to probe into the conduct of the doctor which he said was "unprofessional and inhumane" towards the detainee's family. He also wants the police to probe the conduct of the investigation officer who failed to communicate with the victim's family.

"I am extremely displeased that the poor detainee was not provided food or drinks and asked to admit to a crime which he did not do. "I find this very shocking, uncivilised and barbaric. To do this to someone who is only 26 years old - he had his whole life ahead of him. "He might be a criminal, thief or scoundrel, it doesn't matter. Do the necessary. But did he have to pay with his life?" he asked.

He Highlights That Custodial Deaths Seem To Be A Trend Among The Poor Regardless Of Race

Ramasamy said he will speak to state police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi to express displeasure with investigation and the conduct of the police as there had also been other cases of custodial deaths. He added that this was not a racial issue but seems to be a trend among the poor, whether the victim is a Chinese, Malay or Indian.

"There seems to be no hope for the poor, the rich can get away. This is a clear case of class discrimination," he fumed. Ramasamy, who is state executive councillor, also demanded an inquest into the death of Agin Raj.

However, Police Say Post Mortem Results Showed That Agin Had Passed Away Due To Lack Of Oxygen To The Brain. They Deny Any Foul Play.

Police Say Post Mortem Results Showed That Agin Had Passed Away Due To Lack Of Oxygen To The Brain

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When contacted, Abdul Rahim said the post mortem results showed that Agin Raj died of asphyxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). He added the case was classified as 'sudden death'. "He was charged in the hospital as the doctor said he could not be released in his present condition," Abdul Rahim said. He said if necessary, an inquest into Agin Raj's death will be recommended by the police.

Seberang Prai Tengah deputy district police chief Supt Baharom Abu, however, denied police had beaten Agin Raj while he was under their watch. “Our men did not beat him up as alleged by his family members,” Baharom said, adding that the injuries sustained by Agin Raj could have been sustained prior to his arrest.

Agin's Death Bring The Number Of Custodial Deaths To Ten Nationwide, And Seven In Penang For 2014

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