Malaysian Dies Fighting For His Life In Hospital After Spending 12 Days In Police Lock-Up

It is alleged that the deceased was beaten by the police with a rubber hose during his detention.

Cover image via B Nantha Kumar/Malaysiakini & iPleaders Blog

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Recently, a 40-year-old man succumbed to his injuries after fighting for his life since 8 March in Selayang Hospital's intensive care unit (ICU)

The victim, A Ganapathy, had spent 12 days in police custody from 24 February to 8 March before he was admitted to the hospital, according to a report in Malaysiakini yesterday, 20 April.

He was detained to assist with investigations into his sibling's alleged crimes.

It is reported that the court allowed a 13-day remand order on Ganapathy to help investigate cases involving a mattress warehouse robbery, hijacking vehicles, fighting, and wrongful confinement.

He was supposed to be detained until 9 March, but Ganapathy's father said his son was cleared of any wrongdoing a day earlier after being sent to the ICU for treatment.

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via Astro Ulagam

The deceased's 60-year-old mother, S Thanaletchumy, said her son was healthy before his arrest, but had a history of diabetes and heart problems

Their family lawyer K Ganesh said that during Ganapathy's detention, he was "taken to Selayang Hospital four times to receive treatment at the request of the suspect on 28 February, 3 March, 6 March, and 7 March".

Ganapathy's father said his son's leg had to be amputated on 11 March while in the ICU. The doctors found that Ganapathy had kidney problems.

Additionally, Thanaletchumy claimed that her son told her that the police had beaten him with a rubber hose, reported the news portal.

His family claimed Ganapathy's health deteriorated because of his stint in police custody, resulting in his leg being swollen and bruised as though he had been beaten.

The deceased's sister also claimed that she was barred from seeing her brother when she brought his medicine to the police station.

The deceased's mother, S Thanaletchumy.

Image via B Nantha Kumar/Malaysiakini

Following Ganapathy's passing, the family lawyer demanded the district police chief resign over the matter

"The family members of Ganapathy are shattered," said Ganesh.

They cannot understand what was his crime that he had to be remanded for two weeks.

He added that the case should be investigated under murder or manslaughter, while questioning why no one has been arrested over Ganapathy's beatings to this day.

Gombak district police chief ACP Arifai Tarawe had in March said the police launched an investigation into Ganapathy's alleged beatings by the police following Thanaletchumy's complaint.

Speaking to Malaysiakini yesterday, Arifai revealed that the police are waiting for Ganapathy's autopsy report.

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation fighting to eliminate deaths and abuse in police custody is urging the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) to hold an inquest into Ganapathy's death

According to Free Malaysia Today, the Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT) said the AGC is empowered to do so under Section 339 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

EDICT said the inquiry could help determine the cause of Ganapathy's death and identify the perpetrators.

It added that there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the case.

"What happened during the detention period and did the police take reasonable action to ensure that the detainee received proper treatment?" EDICT said.

"Is there a gap in the action of the police after finding that the detainee was injured?"

The NGO also pleaded with the police to stop brutality in custody.

Photo for illustration purposes only.

Image via Wikimedia Commons via Asian Correspondent

Malaysian-Indians dying in lock-ups is not uncommon in this country. According to Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), nearly 55% of police custodial death victims are Malaysian-Indians.

However, official figures only show that 23.4% of police custodial deaths are Malaysian-Indians.

Late last year, police were accused of abusing the remand process to keep 29 Malaysian-Indians detained:

In July last year, a 35-year-old man died while under remand at the Sungai Buloh Prison in Selangor:

His family claimed that the victim's body at the mortuary had bruises on the face and bloodstains in his mouth. However, the Prisons Department claimed he suffered a heart attack:

From 2010 to 2017, 1,654 people have died in police custody:

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