Teoh’s death not an isolated death

Custodial deaths: Amnesty alarmed
Jul 21, 09 10:06am

The Malaysian chapter of the world human rights organisation Amnesty International has expressed concerns over the death of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock while in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Executive director Nora Murat said that Teoh’s death was not an isolated incident as many other deaths in custody have been reported recently.

“It raises a serious concern in terms of gap in human rights protection observed by the law enforcement authorities and accountability mechanism to address death in custody.

“Therefore, there is an urgent and critical need to address human rights obligation in terms of law enforcement work in Malaysia,” Nora said in a statement today.

She added that law enforcement agencies and initiatives must exercise a high degree of human rights responsibility, and prioritise and internalise procedures in ensuring a person’s personal security and rights at all times.

“They are duty bound to ensure that a suspect or witness is provided with protection of their personal security and rights including their right to legal access and medical attention during the entire period of custody and investigation.

“This fundamental right has somehow remained discretionary, ad hoc and secondary in the nature of law enforcement work in Malaysia,” she added.

She further said that the failure to prioritise and dutifully ensure human rights protection in law enforcement was the major contributing factor for deaths in custody in Malaysia.

Public confidence shattered

She also said that the continuing deaths in custody have undermined public confidence in the enforcement agencies.

“Amnesty International Malaysia also calls for a royal commission to investigate all other cases of death in custody including the recent death of Teoh Beng Hock and to address gaps in the current law enforcement system in view of providing critical reform and change in our system,” she said.

Teoh, 30, the political secretary to Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead last Friday.

He had been picked up on Thursday about 5pm for questioning by the Selangor MACC in relation to a probe into the spending of constituency funds.

His body was found at about 1.30pm the next day on the fifth floor balcony at the building in which the MACC is housed in Shah Alam. He was buried yesterday.

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