Proham Press Release
The recent reports of death in custody as in the case of N Darmindran(May 21), James Ramesh (May 26) and Karuna Nithi (June 1), has raised many questions on custodial death especially with regards to the investigation methods used while holding suspects in remand.Such deaths in custody have affected the public perception on the Police negatively and therefore the Police must adopt stronger compliance to human rights standards especially when undertaking investigation and in remand procedures.
The Royal Police Commission in its report (2005) recognised deaths in custody as “a serious cause for concern”. It went on to note that “of even greater concern is the fact that inquest were only held for 6 of the 80 deaths” in the period 2000 -2004 “when s334 of the CPC makes it mandatory for the magistrate to conduct an inquest”.The Royal Police Commission concluded “that the current provisions for inquiry into deaths in police custody in the CPC are not sufficiently rigorous and do not provide for a transparent and accountable process. The Commission therefore recommends that section 331, 332, 333, 334, 335, 337 and 338 be amended.
It is of utmost importance that the immediate CPC provisions so that section 334 is amended that “the Magistrate shall immediately examine the body in situ and shall direct the officer to investigate and draw up a report of the apparent cause of death…”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 who shall be responsible for the welfare and custody of every detainee
Proham notes that these recommendations made by the Royal Police Commission in 2005 have not been implemented and therefore calls on the Federal Government to adopt following recommendations:-· That the CPC sections on Inquiries of Death be amended as per the Police Commission recommendations for a stronger legal provisions making judicial inquiry mandatory
· That an Independent oversight mechanism namely the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) be instituted
· That the recommendations made by the Police Commission on strengthening investigative Policing through better training and use of forensic science be given greater priority. This will reduce reliance of investigative methods which are not human rights compliant. More resources must be allocated for this purpose of enhancing capacity of the Police.
· That the Federal government take immediate steps to ratify the International Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading Treatment or punishment.
Issued on behalf of Proham by Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari (Proham Exco) and Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria (Proham Secretary-General)
June 3, 2013