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Malaysian policeman freed in detainee death case

Malaysian policeman freed in detainee death case

A Malaysian court on Friday acquitted a policeman accused of fatally beating a detainee in one of the country's highest-profile allegations of police brutality.
The verdict is certain to upset human rights and opposition activists because no other person has been charged in the case of Ananthan Kugan, a 22-year-old ethnic Indian who died in January 2009 while being held in custody for suspected car theft.
A district court in Malaysia's central Selangor state ruled that prosecutors failed to prove any case against police constable Vivekanandan Navindran.
Minority ethnic Indians have staged angry protests over Kugan's death, alleging racial discrimination. Activists say Indians are often unfairly targeted by the police force, which is dominated by the ethnic Malay majority. However, Navindran is ethnic Indian.
N. Surendran, a lawyer representing Kugan's family, said the verdict signaled there was "never any interest or political will among the authorities to bring Kugan's killers to justice."
"It's an indication of the slipshod and indifferent manner in which the case was brought to the court," Surendran said. "We had always taken the position that this was murder and many other people were involved."
Government prosecutor Mohamad Azabafree Mohamad Abbas said there was no decision yet on whether to appeal the verdict.
Prosecution witnesses said they saw Navindran beating Kugan with a rubber hose. He died four days after the alleged beating, but investigators did not find the hose and Kugan's specific cause of death remains unclear.


Updated : 2020-12-03 10:22 GMT+08:00