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Home Minister Gives A Breakdown Of 105 People Who Have Died While In Custody Since 2020

Hamzah Zainudin also confirmed that the police has requested an inquest into the death of A Ganapathy, a 40-year-old Malaysian-Indian whose death sparked a public outcry against alleged police brutality.

Cover image via New Straits Times & Mashable Southeast Asia

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Earlier this week in Parliament, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin gave a breakdown of all the people who have died while in custody in immigration detention centres, police lock-ups, and prisons

Hamzah's breakdown was in the form of a parliamentary written reply to Batu Kawan member of Parliament (MP) Kasthuriraani Patto, who had asked the Home Minister to reveal the number of deaths in police lock-ups, immigration detention centres, and prisons in 2020 and 2021 by their ethnicity and states.

According to the numbers shared by Hamzah, a total of 105 people have died while in custody so far.

Image via Bernama

In police lock-ups:

The number of deaths of detainees reported in lock-ups was 13 people in 2020.

Meanwhile, as of August this year, six detainees were reported to have died in lock-ups.

From January 2020 to August this year, the total number of deaths in lock-ups is 19 people.

Hamzah also gave the ethnic breakdown of those who died in lock-ups.

Of the total of 19, nine were Malay men, six Chinese men, two Indian men, and two foreign nationals.

In prisons:

According to the Home Minister, the Malaysian Prison Department records for 2020 and 2021 show that a total of 21 prisoners died in prisons, of which 13 were recorded for the last year.

Of the 21 prisoners, Hamzah said, 19 were Malaysian citizens that included 16 Malay men and three Indian men. The two others were foreign prisoners with one each from the Philippines and Nepal.

In immigration detention centres:

A total of 65 detainees died from 2020 to 23 August this year.

According to records by the Immigration Department of Malaysia, the number of deaths of detainees in immigration detention centres in 2020 was 37 people, Hamzah's parliamentary written reply stated.

Of this, the highest number of deaths included Indonesian citizens at 16, followed by Indian and Burmese nationals with five each, and three Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals.

Two were Cambodian nationals, with one Canadian, Nigerian, and Vietnamese national each.

Meanwhile, 28 detainees died in immigration detention centres from 1 January to 23 August this year.

Of this, 20 were Filipino citizens, two Indian and two Vietnamese citizens, and one citizen each from Botswana, Indonesia, Iran, and Myanmar.

Meanwhile, Hamzah also confirmed that the police has requested an inquest into the death of A Ganapathy, a 40-year-old Malaysian-Indian whose death sparked a public outcry against alleged police brutality

The 40-year-old Malaysian-Indian succumbed to his injuries on 18 April this year after fighting for his life since 8 March in Selayang Hospital's intensive care unit. The victim had spent 12 days in police custody from 24 February to 8 March before he was admitted to the hospital, according to a Malaysiakini report.

His family alleges that police had beaten him with a rubber hose and that they were barred from seeing him when his sister went to the police station to deliver medicines for his diabetes and heart problems.

However, police had rubbished the family's allegations.

The Home Minister, in his parliamentary replies on 28 September to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo and Klang MP Charles Santiago, said that investigations were completed and a referral was made to the Selangor state prosecution director's office (PPN) with a proposal for an inquest.

"On 12 July 2021, the decision to hold an inquest was accepted. Following that, the police registered an inquest application at the Shah Alam Coroner's Court on 30 August 2021," his reply stated.

Hamzah also addressed the recent cases of three more men who died while in custody amidst the Ganapathy case. They are Sivabalan Subramaniam, Surendran Shanker, and Umar Faruq Abdullah.

According to the Home Minister, investigations are still underway.

Read more about the recent cases here:

Recently, family members of 22 inmates detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) claimed that their next of kin are being brutally assaulted in the Jelebu Prison, Negeri Sembilan: