It is important that the IPCMC* is set up immediately. There have been too many deaths in custody. If you want a reason, here is one…

Are lives so cheap in Malaysia?

N Dharmendran died about six years ago. He was someone’s husband, father, son and uncle. He  joins a long list of unexplained deaths in police custody. The cover-up and conspiracy, following his death,  is a grave injustice to his wife and family.

The four policemen who were accused of his murder, S. Hare Krishnan, Jaffri Jaffar, Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman, and Mohd Haswadi Zamri Shaari were tried four times, but they were acquitted last year and remain free.

No-one has been punished for the crime and this is a good reason to revisit Dharmendran’s case, so that the family can find closure and justice be properly served.

Dharmendran reported a crime but was himself arrested

On 11 May 2013, 31-year-old Dharmendran lodged a police report about a fight, but instead of taking statements, the police arrested him and three other people, and charged them with attempted murder.

His family were informed of his arrest on 19 May, and when they visited him in jail, they were told that he would be released, on police-bail, four days later.

When the family received a call on 22 May expecting it to be Dharmendran informing them to pick him up, they were horrified when a policeman told them, that they were to collect his body from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH) morgue.

Dharmendran’s ears had been stapled to his head

On that same day, the CID chief, Ku Chin Wah, had released a statement claiming that Dharmendran had complained of breathing difficulties, and pains in the chest. He was rushed to KLH, but was pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) and the police claimed he had died from a suspected asthma attack.

Malaysians are already familiar with the stock phrases of the PDRM to explain deaths in police custody; chest pains, breathing difficulties, asthma attack, sudden death.

The police may have their reasons to mask the truth, but the post-mortem results do not lie.

A report from the KLH Forensic Department said that Dharmendran had suffered “acute massive loss of blood” which resulted in a “hypovolemic shock.” They found 52 bruises from blunt force trauma. Dharmendran’s ears had been stapled and the pathologist said that the presence of blood, was proof that Dharmendran had been alive, when his ears were stapled to his head.

Who tortured Dharmendran?

Why was Dharmendran tortured? Is the police force manned by psychopaths?  The level of cruelty inflicted on Dharmendran was unprecedented. His widow, 32-year-old Marry Mariay Susay, accused the police of a cover-up in her husband’s death.

Why did the CID chief, attribute Dharmendran’s death to asthma, and not wait for the post-mortem results? Policemen are  not medically competent to issue such statements.

In  2015, the KL CID chief, Zainuddin Ahmad, who had been in the force for 38-years, claimed that Dharmendran’s  interrogation did not include violence. He said, “Physical violence is strictly prohibited. We (police) have been trained to carry out interrogation. However, there is no issue about using loud, harsh voice”.

So, why did the post mortem show that Dharmendran had been tortured? What are we to make of Zainuddin’s statement, because it is the opposite of the pathologist’s findings? Does this mean that Zainuddin lied, or does he not know what his junior policemen were up to? The injuries were inflicted whilst Dharmendran was in police custody.

Zainuddin had also admitted that he had been the officer-in-charge-of-the-police-district (OCPD) and responsible for the welfare of the detainees, during Dharmendran’s arrest. He said that the CCTV, in the lock-up, was mal-functioning and that the logistics team had been notified.

Allegations about malfunctioning CCTV, and police records which had been tampered with

Isn’t it weird, that the CCTV in police and MACC premises, always malfunction, where there is a high profile death, such as for Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbani. In the abduction of Pastor Ramond Koh, the only recordings were acquired from private residences. None was produced from the many CCTVs on street corners and public buildings.

There were allegations that police records had been tampered. The policemen did not know the standard operating procedure (SOP) for arrest and detention. The suspects were not sickly when they were arrested.

Is Hare Krishnan a victim too?

Why did Hare Krishnan, the fourth policeman who was implicated in Dharmendran’s death  disappear for six weeks? If he was innocent, why would he run away?

So, was he asked to hide by his superiors? Why?

Or, did he fear for his life because he was innocent? So, who are the people responsible for Dharmendran’s injuries and subsequent death?

Or was he complicit in the crime?

Police forensics failure 

Why weren’t blood samples collected, to see whose DNA was present on Dharmendran’s body, or clothing?

It was alleged that police records had been altered? Who did this and why? Did they implicate their own colleagues?

Unless Dharmendran was in a sound-proof cell, from which screams could not emanate, why did the other policemen not search their consciences, and report the torture of a man during interrogation?

Malaysia has seen far too many deaths in custody. Questions have been asked, but no policeman has been punished.

Last October, the Federal Court upheld the acquittal of the four policemen who were accused of Dharmendran’s murder..

Lawyer Baljit Singh Sidhu, who represented Mohd Nahar and Mohd Haswadi, said that it was the apex court’s findings that the circumstantial evidence in the case was not conclusive and that the evidence was incomplete. Really?

Many policemen were acquitted of their involvement in deaths in custody during disgraced, former Najib Abdul Razak’s tenure, when Khalid Abu Bakar was the IGP. They should be retried.

The setting up of the *Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) should be done immediately to prevent more injustices. There have been too many deaths in custody and few have been properly investigated. At the moment, who polices the police?

Justice has been denied Dharmendran’s wife and family.

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  • Lee Lee says:

    It makes ones blood boil when such abuses and even murder are committed in institution that is suppose to protect the innocent . Whether one is a criminal or just an ordinary rakyat when they are haul up they should be accorded the rights in the slammer with standard operating procedure in place. It really confirms that the police are non other than thugs and murderers without conforming to rules of law and brazenly volated the laws. They knew that they are the one who enforced law where they can used the law to do anything as they shielded by the very law that they have abused. PDRM should no more report to a Home Minister. The past history records has shown that activities of violation in PDRM do not even stirr the Home Minister to actions and infact some of the Home Ministers are even exploiting the situation to gather support for their own self serving causes. The suggested formation of IPCMC has met with lots of resistance from PDRM which are obviously seen as fears that many in the police forces will be detained with seriousness of the crimes committed . It will be very damning in consequences and create a shock waves in the country on the brutality and rampant vices in PDRM. Infact if we will to view objectively IPCMC could be also easily compromised. At best it will be proper to form a panel of investigators on a rotational basis where MPs are selected to perform the duties and hold proceedings with the AG in the advisory role. PDRM should no more be the responsibility or portfolio of the Home Minister but overseer by three Senior Minister comprises of three major races. This shall deter exploitations and abuses

  • Hang Kasturi says:

    Despite raising the issue of setting up more bureaucracy which is wasteful and does not work, many of my fellow Malaysians are still grasping at straws in the hope the setting of the IPCMC will stemmed the tide of death in custody. It would not and it will be just duplicating the role which should be done by the MACC. The current MACC is tainted by the death in custody of Teoh Beng Hock and no doubt residing within the personnel are still some evil and bad dudes. An election promise to the DAP, one of the component parties, to the family of Teoh Beng Hock, appears to have fallen by the wayside. Clearly, my fellow Malaysians, you are conflating the issue of setting up a new bureaucracy with the possibility of stemming the death in custody of people arrested by the police. Instead we should do a clean out of the MACC and appoint new personnel selected across the population. These new personnel must be incalculated with the mission and purpose of the MACC and like the FBI conduct their duties without fear or favour. Duplicating another bureacracy is not the panacea or the solution, as bureaucracy is notorious for its inertia and stonewalling if it is not properly guided and control. The MACC can also have judicial review conducted on their behaviour. Moreover, the mould of mainly staffing these bureaucracies with predominantly one race is neither healthy or desirable. The cases of the disappearance of Pastor Koh, Amri Chit, Joshua Hilmy and Rosa Hilmy are a case in point. To date no action has been taken despite the Suhakam Report slating home the responsibility and blame to the Special Branch of Bukit Aman. A new bureaucracy will not be any better when we have the pea brain PM proposing an investigation of the IGP after he has retired. In most Westminster system, the IGP should be stood down straightaway especially in view of the fact he was the head of Special Branch when all the disappearances happened. A task force should be setup to investigate his role in the disappearances to obtain the truth of the matter. There is no time to waste as their “disappeared” families need answer and justice. Remember justice delayed is justice denied.

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