"If an accused can appeal, why can't the government appeal as well?"
This was said by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the decision of the government to appeal against the landmark judgment of the High Court on June 26 for the family of A Kugan in their civil suit.
Justice VT Singham said Khalid Abu Bakar, then Selangor police chief, was liable for the death of Kugan in custody four years ago and the court awarded a total sum of RM851,700, for assault and battery, false imprisonment, and damages for pain and suffering to his mother, N Indra.
The home minister is talking about rights and the freedom to appeal.
Suaram would like to remind the minister that there are other rights that he should realise as well.
How about the right of a person to life as enshrined in the Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 5 of the federal constitution of Malaysia which clearly says "No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty save in accordance with law"?
Do the minister and the police force now under his care have any idea on these rights?
Appealing in a public interest case like Kugan's which clearly shows that the force has acted brutally and misused its power, indicates that the government has failed to read the sentiment of the people.
Pictures and videos of Kugan at the mortuary are all around the Internet. His body went straight from the USJ 8 Taipan police lock-up cell to the Serdang Hospital mortuary on Jan 20, 2009.
There was blood and foam from his mouth.
Why doesn't the government take responsibility and move on with further reforms needed on the police?
By saying that it will appeal the decision, the government's credibility and image in the eyes of the public has deteriorated
The government and the police should accept the verdict, and take full responsibility for killing a life under its care.
THEVARAJAN R is Suaram coordinator.