Human rights group demands inquest over recent custodial deaths

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Human rights advocacy groups demands investigation over recent deaths of detainees while in police custody. In a statement, Non-profit organization Eliminating Deaths & Abuse in Custody Together (Edict) said that for cases of custodial deaths, the only way to determine the cause of death and the one responsible for it is an inquest according to the principle of the rule of law.

An inquest is the only way to see the transparency of the inquiry. There is also an opportunity to argue and oppose against any allegations and evidence the authorities presented concerning the case of custodial death. According to it, the inquest is the most transparent process in the Coroner Court that would serve justice for the both sides.

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It also said that conducting independent investigations are still necessary while adding that as of the moment, police investigations regarding such cases must be done by a special forensics team in the police force in compliance with the existing laws.

It mentioned that it is necessary for the special unit to be independent from the police station involved in the case of the custodial death. Preferably, it must be based in Bukit Aman led by an officer with unquestionable integrity and independence.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) was also called to investigate after the Coroner’s Court completion of its investigation in order to find out as well whether there is human rights infringements in such cases. It added that any recommendation would be helpful in developing the current situation among the detention centers.

The Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet), which is another organization, said that it is worried about not having enough inquests and transparency of data that concerns the recent custodial deaths. The organization added that Malaysia is in need of more independent coroners to look into criminal liability among the occurrences of deaths in the country.

Mapdet said that the public prosecutor and the magistrate must shoulder the blame for lacking inquests in the recent deaths. It added that according to the law, all deaths must be inquired into by the Coroner.

The group said that it is now time for the judicial service members to be directly under the Judiciary instead of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission in order to guarantee independence and to avoid having not enough inquests into the custodial death cases. The group also mentioned that in doing the public inquest, any suspicion of having cover ups regarding the deaths and the involvement of the police officers would be suppressed

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