Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed Nur.
“There was an element of crime in the attacks involving common intent or abetment by PDRM officers, including the arresting team, to intentionally use physical violence on the deceased to cause death or injury,” the EAIC said in a statement today....its investigations also found attempts to obscure evidence from the 25-year-old’s interrogation that resulted in 61 separate injuries on various parts of his body...
Friday October 30, 2015
11:49 PM GMT+8
According to the enforcement watchdog, its investigations also found attempts to obscure evidence from the 25-year-old’s interrogation that resulted in 61 separate injuries on various parts of his body.
The police officers involved also engaged in a “serious breach” of standard operating procedures concerning the handling of detainees, material seizure, and the integrity of statements.
It added that the action was a criminal offence, specifically under Section 302 and 325 of the Penal Code read with Section 34 of the same Act.
Section 302 pertains to murder while Section 325 involves voluntarily causing grievous bodily harm; Section 34 deals with voluntarily causing hurt.
The EAIC then recommended that the Attorney-General’s Chambers to prosecute the officers involved for the crimes identified in the agency’s investigations.
It added that it was regrettable that custodial deaths continue to occur repeatedly in the country, saying that the matter should be viewed seriously.
According to the EAIC’s investigations, Syed Mohd Azlan had been arrested on November 3, 2014 near Pengerang, Johor over possible involvement in an armed altercation involving two groups on September 14 the same year.
He had been detained by a team of 13 police officers and held at the Sungai Rengit police station, where he had been interrogated over the attack.
Syed Mohd Azlan was later transferred to the Kota Tinggi district police headquarters to be remanded, but died while in transit.
A post-mortem determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to his chest, while 61 defensive wounds were discovered on his face, torso, and both legs. -Malay Mail, 30/10/2015
Aliran refers to a 30 October 2015 statement by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) on their findings of their investigation into the death of this young man while in police custody.
According to the EAIC statement, Syed Mohd Azlan was arrested by a team of 13 police officers on 3 November 2014 at 3.30am as part of an investigation under Section 148 in the Penal code i.e., possessing weapons or missiles in a riot, based on a police report made against him. He was taken to Sungai Rengit Police Station in Pengerang, Johor for questioning.
A few hours later, at about 7am, while he was being taken to the district police headquarters in Kota Tinggi for a remand application, pending investigation under S148 of the Penal Code, Syed Mohd Azlan was found to be unresponsive and weak.
He was taken to a nearby health clinic where he was checked by a doctor at about 8.30am and certified dead. A police report was subsequently made by the head of the arresting team at about 10am the same day.
Following the EAIC statement, a post mortem conducted the following day determined the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the chest. The medical examination reportedly showed that the deceased had 61 injuries (cuts, bruising, scratches) on his face, body and on both his legs.
Some of the injuries were said to be consistent with defence wounds as the deceased tried to defend himself against the brutality inflicted on him. The use of non-standard-issue police handcuffs also caused hurt to the wrists of the deceased.
The EAIC states clearly that their findings show that the death of Syed Mohd Azlan was connected with the use of physical force by the police who arrested and questioned him.
The EAIC also states that there was tampering of evidence by the police including:
- the cleaning up the incident area before it was visited and examined,
- disposal of a rubber mat and carpet at the place of arrest which was believed to have blood stains of the deceased, and
- hiding or removal of eye witnesses to the incident.
The EAIC also noted abetment of a criminal nature by the arresting officers in physically brutalising Syed Mohd Azlan which resulted in his injury and death.
The EAIC have found the police not only culpable in a man’s death but also the occurrence of severe breaches in police protocols and attempts to cover up the wrongdoing.
The Malaysian public should be utterly horrified that, during an investigation into possession of weapons (which incidentally were never found), a young man was subjected to a horrific beating which resulted in his death. Such violence is inexcusable and unacceptable.
This is not the first time such a thing has happened and one wonders what it would take to make the government take the issue of deaths in custody seriously.
Given the findings from the EAIC, Aliran strongly urges:
- the attorney general to take swift action and identify, charge and prosecute the police officers involved in the unlawful killing of Syed Mohd Azlan.
- that Syed Mohd Azlan’s family be compensated for their loss although it will never bring him back
- the Home Minister to take steps to implement the EAIC recommendations, which include police refresher training on arrests, the tightening and monitoring of SOPs, a ban on the use of non-standard-issue equipment during arrests, and research into the suitability of amending the Penal Code and Evidence Act 1950 to place the presumption of guilt on those who are responsible for detainees until proven otherwise, in death- and injury-in-custody cases.
Aliran executive committee member
3 November 2015