KUALA LUMPUR (July 3): PKR human rights and legal bureau deputy chairman S Jayathas is being investigated after getting involved in a skirmish with police officers last month.
He is being investigated under Section 353 of the Penal Code for using criminal force to deter a public servant from carrying out duties.
Met at the Dang Wangi police district headquarters, Jayathas said police asked him basic questions about the incident which occurred on May 26 while he was lodging a report on the death of N Dhamendran.
“They asked me what was my intention for being at the station, why was I standing at the entrance and so forth,” he told reporters.
During the incident, after accompanying Dhamendran’s family to lodge a police report on his death in custody, Jayathas spoke to reporters outside the station for a while.
He said upon entering the police station again later, he was allegedly pushed to the ground by policemen.
Jayathas had lodged a report on the action of the police, and at the same time, the police officers also lodged a report against Jayathas, claiming the latter had used force.
Jayathas said there were 15 to 20 police officers outside the police station when he came with Dhamendran’s family.
“Around 11.30, I came out to talk with the press. When I wanted to go in again, they stopped me and started to block me,” he said.
“I told them ‘you cannot stop me. The station is there for the public to make reports’. Then there was a commotion and the police officer pushed me to the ground,” he added.
On May 21, Dhamendran, an Alam Flora lorry driver, died while being held in police custody after he was arrested in connection with a shooting incident in Bandar Tun Razak.
Police had initially classified the case as sudden death as Dhamendran collapsed after complaining of chest pains. However, an autopsy report prepared by Hospital Kuala Lumpur pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng stated “diffuse soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma” as the cause of death.
The case has since been reclassified as murder. The Home Ministry has also suspended four police officers involved in the case after public outrage over the reassigning of the officers to desk duties pending the completion of the probe into the case.
Lawyers for Liberty legal and campaign coordinator Michelle Yesudas, who is representing Jayathas, said this is not the first incidence whereby police officers had stopped the public from entering the Dang Wangi police station.
“We saw a similar situation when (student activist) Adam Adli (Abdul Halim) was arrested and brought to the police station,” she said.
Meena Lakshana, FZ.com