Lawyer in detainee’s death case says EAIC serves no purpose

Reena Raj
Lawyer M. Visvanathan speaks during a press conference at Suaram’s office in Petaling Jaya August 15, 2018. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

PETALING JAYA, Aug 15 — Lawyer representing the family of death in police custody victim Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed Nur slammed the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) as being a toothless tiger.

Lawyer M. Visvanathan said although EAIC ran an inquiry into the case and concluded in 2015 that there was foul play involved in Syed Mohd Azlan’s death, the report did not carry any weight to help the case.

Visvanathan said he wrote a letter to the EAIC last month to get a full report of the inquiry so that it could assist in civil case trial this month.

“But EAIC denied my request, stating that all the information in the inquiry is classified as confidential and that it cannot be revealed,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Suaram office here today.

“What is the purpose of the report if nothing can be done with it? This report is as good as toilet paper,” he added.

Visvanathan said EAIC does not serve any purpose in the legal system of the country.

Visvanathan urged the Institutional Reform Committee to do away with EAIC that has no powers and replace it with Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

IPCMC was proposed in 2005 by a royal commission to enhance the operation and management of the police. However, the police have been objecting by saying that the force should not be facing action coming from public complaints.

Syed Mohd Azlan was arrested on November 3, 2014 in Sungai Rengit in the Johor district of Pengerang, two weeks after his alleged involvement in a rioting and weapons possession case.

Four hours later, policemen transferring him to the Kota Tinggi district police headquarters found him in a weakened state and unresponsive, and took him to the Bandar Penawar health clinic where he was pronounced dead.

A post-mortem revealed that he died from blunt force trauma to the chest. A total of 61 bruises were found on his face, body and legs.

A subsequent inquiry by EAIC concluded that there was foul play involved in Syed Mohd Azlan’s death.

The three policeman charged for causing his death were acquitted and discharged by the Kota Tinggi High court last year.