The family of a 25-year-old man who died in Kajang prison recently has called for an inquest into his death.
Roopan Karnagaran, who reportedly had no previous health issues, died on June 21. He had been earlier admitted to the Kajang Hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties on June 17, before being treated and sent back to prison with medication.
According to Free Malaysia Today (FMT), Roopan is the 12th victim of custodial death this year.
Roopan was detained in 2013, when he was just 17, over involvement in a triple-murder at his neighbour's house the same year. He was convicted of the crime in 2017, after police said his DNA was found at the crime scene.
The deceased had maintained his innocence, and filed an appeal against his conviction. His appeal was supposed to have been heard on June 29.
Human rights NGO Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy, in submitting a memorandum over the incident to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), alleged that the prison authorities were attempting to cover up Roopan's death, by lodging a police report that he had died on the way to the hospital, instead of on prison grounds.
The deceased's family too has lodged three police reports on the incident, and submitted through a lawyer, a request for an inquest into the death to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).
A post-mortem conducted on Roopan's body showed that he had died of blood clotting in the leg, Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member S Arulchelvan, who was also present during the press conference, told reporters.
Speaking at the press conference, the deceased's uncle K Sevakumar also pointed out discrepancies on his nephew's health status prior to his death - with the prison authorities claiming that he was COVID-19 positive, while the hospital had said otherwise.
Due to this, the family was not even able to view the state of Roopan's body, he added.
Suhakam has pledged to conduct an impartial investigation into the death.
Data from the Statistics Department shows that there were 1,600 custodial deaths were reported between 2010 and 2017, and Suaram data says that 55 percent of such cases were Indians, reported The Vibes.
Source& Photo source: FMT, The Vibes, Reuters
Mon Jul 12 2021