Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The police officers, who allegedly caused N. Dhamendran’s death, were charged with murder today, about two weeks after he was found dead in a police lock-up here.Dhamendran’s widow M. Marry is pictured outside the courtroom with family lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya.
The charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code was read out to three policemen in the magistrate’s court here, with another accused still at large.
The three officers charged today are Jaffri Jaafar, Mohd Nahar Abd Rahman, Mohd Haswadi Zamri Sahari, with the first being a sergeant while the latter two are corporals. Their ages are 44, 45 and 32 years old respectively.
The identity of the fourth accused was not disclosed.
The penalty for those convicted under Section 302 is the mandatory death sentence.
Magistrate Nur A’minahtul Mardiah Md Nor fixed July 9 as the mention date for the case, pending the chemist’s report.
Dhamendran’s family and their lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya were also present in the courtroom, with the latter holding watching briefs.
When met outside the courtroom, Dhamendran’s widow M. Marry said she was “satisfied”.
“I hope other families will not have to experience this like me. I hope it will not happen to others,” she told reporters.
Latheefa also told reporters that this was the first time where murder charges have been brought against those who had allegedly caused deaths in custody.
Dhamendran was reportedly arrested on May 11 in connection with a shooting incident in Bandar Tun Razak and died 10 days later on May 21 while under remand at the city police contingent headquarters here.
Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah had initially claimed Dhamanderan died due to “breathing difficulties”.
But a Hospital Kuala Lumpur autopsy report that was made public on June 1 revealed that the former lorry driver for a waste management firm had suffered “diffuse soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma”.
The police have reportedly reclassified his death as “murder”.
On May 28, Bukit Aman announced it had set up a special task force headed by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to investigate the circumstances surrounding Dhamendran’s death.
On May 29, four policemen, said to have been on duty when Dhamendran died, were reassigned to desk duties.
On Monday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police officers, who are under investigation for Dhamendran’s death, will be suspended from active duty.
There have been two other reported lock-up deaths since Dhamendran’s death, with human rights society Suaram listing Jamesh Ramesh, 40, as having died at the Penang police contingent headquarters on May 27 and P. Karuna Nithi, 42, who reportedly died last Saturday at the Tampin district police station in Negri Sembilan.
According to Suaram, there were over 220 cases of alleged deaths in custody in Malaysia from 2000 to May, with its records showing that nine of those cases occurred in 2012 while eight cases took place this year — inclusive of Dhamendran and the two recent cases.
The Malaysian Bar, civil society groups and several politicians from both sides of the divide have called for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to be implemented to reform the police force since 2006.