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Reporting deaths in police custody : Behind the numbers

5 Mac 2018

One in four cases are publicised, with majority of reports highlighting Indian victims. S Balamurugan, P Karuna Nithi, N Dharmendran – these are some of the people who made headlines when they perished in police custody before they had their day in court. Stereotypically, Indian Malaysians are often portrayed as the most vulnerable to death whilst in police detention. An analysis by Malaysiakini based on data collected by human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) shows that the majority of deaths in police custody reported in the media and to Suaram feature Indians. However, the same analysis has found that there is massive underreporting of deaths in police custody in the media, particularly those involving Malays. Overall, there were 257 deaths in police custody between 2002 and 2016, according to official statistics provided by the Home Ministry in a parliamentary reply on March 28, 2017. However, based on Suaram’s data, only 62 of these cases were reported in the media and to itself. This means that only about one in four cases of deaths in police custody become public knowledge, while the rest go largely unnoticed.

Source:  Malaysiakini