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Friday, June 26, 2009

Death in Custody

Friday June 26, 2009
Woman goes to Parliament over hubby’s lock-up death
KUALA LUMPUR: A mother of seven, M. Manimalai, wants an inquest into the death of her husband A. Gnanapragasam, who was found dead in a police lock-up earlier this month.
She said Gnanaprasagam, 53, a wireman, who was arrested on June 10 for allegedly breaking into a house in Sg Buloh, had never complained of illness to her or felt ill when he was alive.
“A few days after he was detained by the police, he was dead. Who is going to take care of us now?” she asked at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.
She was speaking to the press after handing over a memorandum to Deputy Home Minister Jelaing Mersat, accompanied by Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong and Subang MP R. Sivarasa.
Manimalai, 40, claimed that when she last visited her husband at the Damansara Damai police station, his right eye was bruised.
“He told me the police had beaten him up. He said he had complained to the magistrate about the beating but no action was taken,” she said.
A post-mortem by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre pathologist Dr Prashant Samberkar found that Gnanaprasagam died of “toxaemia secondary to spontaneous peritonitis” – poison in the blood from bacterial infection in the intestines.
Sivarasa said that although Mani­malai would not dispute the findings of the post-mortem, she wanted to know why her husband had not been given care while in detention.
He said that under the Criminal Procedure Code, an inquest should be held immediately after a detainee’s death.
“However, in Malaysia, the inquest is usually held months or even years after the death. We want an inquest to be held immediately,” he said, adding that the probe into Gnana­prasagam’s death should be carried out by an independent body and not by the police.

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