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Court awards RM448k to police custodial death victim’s family
Published:  Dec 20, 2019 2:01 PM
Updated: 6:01 AM

The family of death-in-custody victim Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed Nur was awarded a total of RM448,000 by the Johor Bahru High Court yesterday.

Judge See Mee Chun found the police responsible for Azlan’s death and said the award served as a reminder to the force.

"The court will be remiss if it did not take this opportunity to remind the police of their duty to uphold the law and safeguard the peace and security of the nation and that all action(s) towards that must be in accordance with the Federal Constitution and the law," See was quoted as saying by The Star.

The family was awarded the amount for court costs; dependency claims; the tort of misfeasance in public office; exemplary damages; and for bereavement, funeral and miscellaneous expenses.

The amount is to be paid at a 5 percent interest from the date of Azlan’s death on Nov 3, 2014.

The family was represented by lawyer M Visvanathan (below) while senior federal counsel Jailani Abdul Rahman represented the government.

‘Murdered’ by police

Five years ago, 25-year-old Azlan was arrested by 13 police from his residence at 3:30am as part of a probe into rioting and firearm possession.

He was found dead several hours later after spending time at a police lock-up in Sungai Rengit, Johor.

The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) later found that Azlan was “murdered” by police who had beaten him while he was in custody.

It found 61 wounds on Azlan’s body, some of which were consistent with defensive injuries. It also found evidence that police had cleaned up the scene of the beatings before medical officers arrived to examine Azlan.

Police were said to have disposed of blood-stained rubber mats and carpets. They also hid away eye-witnesses, said the EAIC.

The victim's father Syed Mohamed Nur Ali.

A report card for cops

Visvanathan, through his NGO Eliminating Death and Abuse in Custody Together (Edict), lauded See’s decision.

He also called it a “report card” for the police, the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and the government.

“The decision shows that the Police Department of Integrity and Compliance to Standards (Jips) failed to act against serious misconduct - the evidence for which was gathered, compiled and analysed effectively by the EAIC four years ago.

“Today’s decision (also) shows that the AGC acted hypocritically.

“On the one hand, it charged three of the defendants in criminal proceedings; (but) on the other hand, it defended them in this civil trial which is based on the same material facts it depended upon in the criminal case,” he said in a statement.

The three defendants mentioned were police officers Weddrin Mojingkin, Joshua Perait and Muhammad Bunyamin. They were previously charged and later acquitted for culpable homicide (not amounting to murder) in Azlan’s case.

Visvanathan criticised the police for not taking any disciplinary action against the three and for promoting one of the officers involved.

The lawyer contended that Azlan’s death was yet another reason why the government needed to establish a “true” Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

“They must establish a true IPCMC, not the superficial Independent Police Conduct Commission proposed in the IPCMC bill,” he added.

Separately, the High Court’s decision in the case was lauded today by de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong, who is overseeing the IPCMC bill.

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