PETALING JAYA: The Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) has called for the current Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to be amended to allow a magistrate to immediately examine the body of a person who died in police custody.Proham secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria made the call in the light of the recent deaths of N. Dhamendran, Jamesh Ramesh and P. Karuna Nithi which has raised many questions on custodial deaths especially with regards to the investigation methods used while holding suspects in remand.
He said that once the magistrate has examined the body in a custodial death, he could then direct the police on what to do.Dr Denison noted that the Royal Police Commission in its report (2005) had recognised deaths in custody as “a serious cause for concern”.
“It went on to note that of even greater concern is the fact that inquests were only held for six of the 80 deaths,” he said in a statement yesterday.Dr Denison was a member of the Royal Police Commission, which was formed to reform and review police operations.
“The Royal Police Commission also called for the adoption of a code of practice relating to arrest and detention of persons including the need for independent custody officers in every police station.“Proham notes that these recommendations made by the Royal Police Commission in 2005 have not been implemented,” he said.
He added that Proham calls on the Federal Government to adopt recommendations, including, amending the CPC and for the formation of the Independent Police Com-plaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said only an IPCMC could prevent needless custodial deaths.
“The number of custodial deaths since 2000 is 219, a shocking figure that is sure to rise without any safeguards and preventive mechanism such as the IPCMC.“There is no reason why the Government refuses to look into such oversight of the police when it is recommended in 2005 by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Police,” he said.