Shah Alam – In a press statement released yesterday (Sunday 18 June 2017), Eric Paulsen and Melissa Sasidaran, the lawyers for the family of Vickraman Devid, who died under police custody, have called on the authorities to immediately commence an inquest.
The following is the full text of their press statement:
“On 16 June 2017, family members of Vickraman Devid were informed by the Shah Alam police that Vickraman had died while under police custody at the Shah Alam Court Complex the day before (15 June) when he was brought for remand proceeding. The family were informed by the police that Vickraman had collapsed while in the court lock up but was deemed well enough to continue with the remand hearing. After the hearing, he collapsed once again. Medical attention was provided by medical personnel from the Shah Alam Hospital but he was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The post mortem was done soon thereafter without the family members’ knowledge and they were only able to see and claim his body on the night of 16 June after the post mortem was completed. The cause of death was stated as “Non compaction cardiomyopathy”. The family said Vickraman was a healthy man and does not have any history of heart-related illnesses. He was 37-years-old and left behind a wife and three young children.
We note in the past, several post mortem outcomes have been challenged and controversial to say the least, for example in the deaths in custody of A. Kugan, Karuna Nithi and C. Sugumar. As this is a custodial death which would mean that an inquest is mandatory under the Criminal Procedure Code, we call upon the Coroner or the Public Prosecutor to immediately commence an inquest proceeding so as to be determine the manner in which Vickraman had died in custody and as to whether his death was accelerated by any unlawful acts or omissions by any persons.
Further, there are serious question marks over the events leading to his death and also the cause of death, as an adult person without any known or history of life threatening diseases should not normally collapse and die after a couple of days in detention.
Malaysia must not be allowed to develop into a police state where a detainee can die or be killed while in police custody without any accountability or redress. Custodial deaths must not be allowed to become common occurrence in Malaysia. All remand detainees are innocent until convicted in a court of law and like other citizens, they are entitled to their basic human rights during their detention.
We further call for all police detention personnel and officers to comply strictly with the police’s new Standard Operating Procedure Pengurusan PDRM issued in 2014 so as to minimise any danger to the life and well-being of detainees under their custody.”