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Press Statement by Liew Chin Tong in Penang on Saturday, 25th July 2009:

The sudden death of Teoh Beng Hock, while being investigated by the MACC is both shocking and questionable

I asked the Home Minister for the number of deaths that have occurred in police lock-up and jail since 1999, an explanation of the causes of incident for every case, and if these cases have required a completed coronerís report.

According to the Minister, records from the Prison Department show that from the years 1999 and 2008, as many as 2,571 men and women detained in jail, correction centres and immigration depots (still under the management of the Prison Department from the years 2002 to 2007) have died as a result of various diseases. There have been 153 fatalities in police detention in the same period.

Out of the 2,571 deaths as many as 98.7% or 2,536 deaths occurred in hospital, namely whilst the victim was receiving treatment. Zero point eight percent or 22 deaths occurred while on the way to hospital, and 0.5% or 13 deaths happened in the detention centre itself.

Based on specified procedure, all cases of detaineesí death should warrant a full police report and investigation, and a coronerís inquest be duly implemented. The victimís family members should also be informed.

According to the report of the Royal Commission on the PDRM, as many as 80 people have died in lock-up and police detention between the years 2000 and September 2nd 2004.

The Commission has received allegations from the family members of the deceased that they are not duly informed of their arrest, detention and deaths. The victimís family often do not know where the deceased was until their deaths.

Furthermore, following the victimís autopsy, the family members are not provided with the pathologistís report.

In light of this I call upon the government to give adequate attention to the issue of deaths in detention centres, to modify the investigation system and to provide complete and satisfactory explanations to the victimsí families.

* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for Bukit Bendera



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