Home English News “Annbhalagan’s custodial death: a curse on the poor and unfortunate” – Ramasamy

“Annbhalagan’s custodial death: a curse on the poor and unfortunate” – Ramasamy

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George Town -Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang Prof Dr P.Ramasamy has raised questions about the latest death of Annbhalagan Muthu in prison custody. Ramasamy also held a press conference yesterday together with the family members of Annbhalagan.

The following is the statement by Ramasamy posted on his facebook:

“Remand prisoner Annbhalagan Muthu 44 years
was transferred from a prison in Perlis to one in Penang only two weeks following the request of his immediate family so that they could visit him often.

But unfortunately, Annbhalagan died a sudden death on May 11, 2019, his death was described as “hanging” by the doctor who performed the post-mortem on May 11, 2019.

His wife Deviga Supramani 41 years who was with her three children at the press conference at my Perai Service Centre, said that there was nothing unusual in the behaviour of her husband who called her just before died.

She told the reporters present that she does not believe that her husband could have committed suicide by using a blanket in the prison.

She is wondering whether her husband was assaulted before he committed suicide or the whole episode was made to look like a suicide.

Deviga in her police report on May 17, 2019, mentioned that she was summoned by the prison warden on May 11, 2019, to be informed that her husband had committed suicide by hanging himself.

At the same time, she said that she noticed an injury mark on the her husband just above the left eye.

In her police report, she mentioned the fact that her husband who never complained about anything could just take his life all of a sudden.

She thinks that there was something mysterious about her husband’s death.

At the press meet today, I mentioned that custodial deaths either in the police stations or in the prisons show no sign of reduction.

While we eagerly waiting for the implementation of IPCMC, however, we are not sure whether the commission will be empowered to investigate deaths or assaults in prison cells.

While custodial deaths are more frequent in police stations, there have been number of cases of custodial deaths and assaults in prisons especially in relation to remand prisoners.

While I am not accusing the prison authorities for the death of Annbhalagan, but his family must know the truth of what really happened.

Did he really commit suicide or was he assaulted? What was the real cause of his death?

Why was the doctor so unprofessional in his report when he described Annbhlagan death as result of “hanging”?

Was this the right medical term to be used?

Perhaps the Penang General Hospital could come up with a more detailed report on the cause of the death and why the injury mark above the left eye was not addressed in the death certificate?

A second post-mortem might clear up the matter of Annbhalagan’s death.

The family want immediate answers on these and other related questions.

Since a police report has been lodged by the wife, I would expect the police in Penang to act on the matter.

The refusal by the police initially to allow the wife to lodge a report and earlier comment by the police that her husband should be cremated rather than buried are things unnecessary and uncalled for.

Whether these are the irresponsible acts of the police or whether there was a cover up, needs to be probed.

Invariably, there is a class element to deaths and injuries in custody.

Those who die and get injured or assaulted in custody whether in police stations or in prisons are members of the working class, irrespective of their ethnic or religious affiliation.

In other words, custodial deaths have become the curse on the poor and the unfortunate.”

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