Last year, a man died while under custody at the Bentong District police headquarters lock up. He was beaten by two detainees on instructions by a police officer, according to Suhakam.
The Human Rights Commission said that G Jestus Kevin, 30, who was detained for alleged theft on 2 April 2020, died three days later due to swelling of the brain by blunt force trauma, the forensics found.
“Suhakam, through a statement given by the forensics doctor, had confirmation that the deceased had many injuries, including broken ribs.
“Other detainees at the lock-up testified that the deceased was tied up using a blanket, and beaten by another detainee – as confirmed by CCTV recordings,” Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph said in an online press conference today.
Investigations found that an officer had ordered the other detainees to “calm him (Kevin) down” and watched while he was being beaten and did nothing to help the deceased. The detainees were then bribed with cigarettes.
Joseph said that Kevin should have been taken for medical attention before the beatings, as he struggled with his mental health, by attempting suicide, speaking to himself and climbing walls. “Instead, the deceased continued to be detained and was then injured by other detainees in the cell,” he said.
The assailants involved in the death have been identified by Suhakam with calls for stern action to be taken against them. They also called for stern action to be taken against the officers who failed to ensure Kevin’s safety, despite him showing signs of mental health problems.
Bentong District police chief Yusof Yunis said officers on duty found the victim had difficulties breathing on 5 April and called for an ambulance. When the ambulance arrived at the lock-up, the victim was found dead.
According to Malaysiakini, activists have been pushing for the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) but instead, the Perikatan Nasional Plus government is pushing for a revised version of the Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) which isn’t authorised to punish errant officers.