Malaysiakini Opinion

No end to state-sanctioned killings in prisons

S Thayaparan  |  Published on  |  Modified on

"We are unanimous, we are not with you."

- Justice Md Raus Shariff

COMMENT | The quote that begins this piece is courtesy of the Federal Court which rejected the appeal of P Uthayakumar who sought to compel the federal government under the Najib regime to establish a royal commission of inquiry into prison reforms. In an interview with Uthayakumar last year, I opined that such a move was a 'Hail Mary' but this did not deter him.

If you ever wonder why criminals never reform in this country, all you have to do is read my interview with Uthayakumar and understand that the system is predicated on turning flawed people into damaged ones - “I look around and see so many people who go back to crime because this atmosphere encourages them to embrace the life they left behind outside prison instead of channelling their energies to something useful.”

Kudos to PKR’s Women vice-chief Sivamalar Genapathy and (as usual) Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Eric Paulsen for highlighting the Mariappan Manivannan case, which is merely a continuation of state-sanctioned murder in prison, detention camps and sometimes even “drug rehabilitation centres” in Malaysia.

The Mariappan case is harrowing in its banality. Just last year, G Ganeshwaran died while in custody and as usual his symptoms were as familiar as Mariappan's as with most deaths in custody.

In Ganeshwaran’s case, his slow death happened after he was interrogated by the state security apparatus, and as told by Klang MP Charles Santiago, the victim's mother related to him that, "During a brief chat, Ganeshwaran told her he was kicked in the throat... and refrained from eating for two days as he could not swallow food. She told me Ganeshwaran had blood in his mouth and lost consciousness while talking to her."...

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