Malaysian cops face suspension over Indian-origin man’s death

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Singapore, June 3 (IANS) Four policemen are set to be suspended in Malaysia for the death of an Indian-origin man in police custody, while the incident is being investigated by an inspector-general of police.

Malaysia’s home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said anybody responsible for deaths in custody will not be let off, especially in cases if interrogation of suspects is done outside the police’s standard operating procedure (SOP), the Malaysian Star reported Monday.

N. Dhamendran, 32, of Indian-origin died in the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur May 21.

Last week, police said that four policemen, who have been implicated in the case, have been put on desk duty.

The move sparked public outrage with many groups, including ethnic Indian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), threatening to take to the streets if the the four were not put under suspension.

“I assure the public, be it those who are with the government or otherwise, that as long as we are entrusted (with the task), we will not compromise on the issue of deaths in custody,” Zahid was quoted as saying.

“What we are doing is within the standards that have been set internationally and within the country. To me, there is no need for street protests, because I and my deputy take a very deep interest in this.”

Dhamendran, a lorry driver, was detained May 13 along with three others to assist police in an investigation into a May 11 shooting incident in Bandar Tun Razak area of Kuala Lumpur. Two other Indian-origin men had sustained injuries in the incident.

Police said Dhamendran had complained of chest pain May 21 and was taken to hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead on arrival at 9 p.m.

However, the post-mortem examination report later showed that he might have been murdered while in police custody.

The case was then classified as a murder and handed over to the criminal investigation department (CID).

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