Thursday, October 25, 2012

'Probe 298 police shooting deaths - or more will die'


8:03AM Oct 25, 2012 
Human rights NGO Suaram has warned that unless police investigate each of the 298 extra-judiciary killings by members of the police force since 2007, more of such incidents will take place.

Citing a reply to Parliament on the matter, Suaram coordinator R Thevarajan said in many of the police shooting cases that Suaram assisted, the family members of those killed had to "run up and down to seek justice".

"Why do the family members of the victims have to run up and down pressuring the government to take action? How many memoranda have to be submitted... before meaningful action is taken?" Thevarajan asked.

NONEHe said that instead of putting the onus on the families to seek answers, each death must automatically be investigated.

"A thorough and open investigation is needed to prove the transparency and credibility of the force in taking action on errant police officers," he said.

He also renewed the call for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to replace the existing "police investigating police mechanism".

Worse still, he said, police have in the past been quick in shifting the blame on the deceased, who were no longer able to defend themselves.

Thevarajan said the police often claimed its officers acted in self-defence and that the victims were criminals, attacked police with parang, were linked to triads or had been perpetrators of crime before.

"(This mechanism) mirrors the failed reforms... Coupled with the lackadaisical approach of the police to the safety of individuals, it appears that many more will be killed by the police for many years to come," he said.

Most shot by Selangor cops

In a reply to Parliament on Tuesday, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said police shot dead 298 "criminals" between January 2007 and August 2012, of whom 134 were Indonesians.

In the written reply to Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput), Hishammuddin said the other foreigners shot dead were five Vietnamese, Burmese (three), Thai (three), Nigerian (one), Liberian (one) and another of unknown nationality.

NONENews portal Free Malaysia Today reported that most of the fatal shootings took place in 2008 and 2009.

A total of 26 Malaysians and 58 Indonesians were killed in 2008, while 48 Malaysians and 34 Indonesians were shot dead in 2009.

"It was also revealed that a large number of the dead - 53 people - were shot by Selangor police. They were followed by Kuala Lumpur police (16), Johor (14), Penang (14) and Perak (11)," the report says.

Of the total shot dead, 142 were aged between 21 and 40 years and three between 16 and 18, while two were women.

NONENotable fatal shootings in the past three years included that of 14-year-old Aminulrasyid Amzah in April 2010, but the statistics provided by the minister do not include those aged below 16.

It is unclear if this was because the statistics only included those the ministry classified as "criminals".

Other notable fatal police shootings included the three youthsgunned down in Glenmarie, Selangor, in November 2010, of whom the youngest was 16.

~ Malaysiakini

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