As expected, Malaysian cops tortured K Selvachandran, an eyewitness to police brutality whom they have now remanded for 60 days under the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA- Special Preventive Measures).

“He was beaten, kicked and punched on his chest by the police. He is now having some hearing problem after he was badly assaulted on the first and second day of his detention,” human rights NGO SURARAM said in a statement.

“He was not fully conscious for the first two days of his detention but was not given immediate medical attention till this was told to the lock up authorities by his fellow cell mates. During his one week of detention, he was brought to Hospital once but he didn’t get proper medical attention.”

Habeas corpus application

Selva’s wife on left in maroon t-shirt

SUARAM activists along with Selva’s wife S Saraswathy and Lawyers for Liberty’s Adlan Hadi had gone to the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to see him. The police only agreed to the visit after a protest was staged on Saturday.

According to SUARAM activist Enalini Elumalai, Selva’s family was given 15 minutes to see him, while his lawyer Adlan was also given another 15 minutes.

“The lawyers are now preparing the Habeas Corpus application (to get Selva released from remand). The family will lodge a police report against the police on the assault against Selva,” Enalini added.

Malaysian police have one of the highest incidences of custodial deaths in the region. Selva was one of three witnesses who had seen police beat a detainee R Gunasegaran unconscious. Guna died and during his inquest, the Coroner overrode the testimonies of the eyewitnesses, opting to deliver an open verdict.

The decision was immediately slammed by the public and the legal fraternity. Later that same day, several policemen went to Selva’s house and according to Saraswathy beat him in front of her and their children.

Sivarasa on right in long-sleeves at the protest

The policemen also tried to force her to kiss him before they dragged him off. For 5 days, until the Saturday protest, neither the Inspector General of Police nor the Home Minister would confirm that Selva had been arrested despite rising public misgivings.

Neither did they order any investigation although the chances were high that Selva’s arrest could have been made out of revenge for his testimony in the Guna inquest.

“The shocking aspect of this injustice is that the police had refused to confirm the place of detention, so it was a kidnapping. We are also shocked by the deafening silence of the Home Minister and the IGP and condemn their arrogance and irresponsibility in not responding to the public,” PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah had told Malaysia Chronicle.

By Malaysia Chronicle, 1 Nov, 2010