Lawyers acting for the wife of K Selvachandran, an eyewitness to a police beating that resulted in the death of a suspect are pressing the panic button because after 4 days, the police are still refusing to divulge where he has been taken to.
“This looks and sounds like an abduction. We demand that the police cease this illegal conduct and release K Selvachandran immediately,” Lawyers for Liberty spokesperson Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.
The 30-year old Selva was a key witness in the inquest of R Gunasegaran, who died while in police custody. In a decision that provoked public outrage, the Coroner returned an open verdict on Monday although Selva and three others had seen a police officer beat Guna unconscious.
Revenge and torture fears
Selva’s family members believe that it is out of revenge that police went looking for him that same night for having blown the whistle on them.
|Latheefa – abduction|
So upset were the police with Selva that they beat him in front of his children and tried to force his wife S Saraswathy to kiss him before dragging him off to their van. At that time, it was learnt that a Chief Inspector Suresh had taken Selva to the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
But the police have refused to confirm or give any information to Saraswathy. Police sources say the Investigating Officer is one Chief Inspector Sazali but till press time, Saraswathy’s lawyers have not been able to get in touch with him.
“We have not been able to get any information of his whereabouts at all. Given the mood of the police and their rough treatment of him, the family has every right to fear that he will be tortured by the police now that they have dragged him back into remand,” N Surendran, lawyer for Selva’s wife, told Malaysia Chronicle.
Hisham doesn’t want to be involved, what about IGP?
The five police personnel who ‘abducted’ Selva on Monday night had told his wife they would detain him for 60 days.
But according to human rights NGO, Suaram, the police cannot hold anyone for more than 24 hours without a remand order unless the detention is under the Internal Security Act, Emergency Ordinance or Dangerous Drugs Act.
Meanwhile, despite the police’s highly questionable conduct, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has refused to get involved.
“I am familiar with the case but then people will say I am interfering in police action. Use our media centre for the details. The police are the ones doing the investigation, so ask them,” said Hishammuddin, when asked for his response on Wednesday.
With even the minister closing the door on the Selvachandran family, there is little recourse but for Malaysians to rally and protest at the police’s shocking behavior, said Suaram.
Together with Lawyers for Liberty, the NGO will submit a memorandum of protest to the Inspector-General of Police at 10 am at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.
It has urged Malaysians to show up to express solidarity for Selva and his family.
By Malaysia Chronicle, 30 Oct, 2010