By Rita Jong
Despite calls for the government not to contest the High Court's decision which found the police responsible for covering up the death of detainee A. Kugan, an appeal was filed today.
The notice of appeal was served on human rights lawyer N. Surendran who is acting for Kugan's family.
"This is unjust and politically motivated. It will only cause further suffering to Kugan's family, especially his mother, N. Indra," said the lawyer, adding that there must be a closure to this four-year-old case.
Surendran said it was obvious that Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the government are indifferent to the suffering of Kugan's family and to the families of the others who had died in custody. "In Kugan's case, there is clear evidence of torture and murder by the police. The post-mortem showed 52 injury marks on Kugan's body and concluded that he had been beaten to death," said Surendran.
"Yet, despite this, Zahid, the Attorney-General and the government have obstinately proceeded with the appeal. It is clear that the appeal has political motives and is related to the on-going public clamour for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to be set up." In fact, he added, even the judge who presided over the civil case had called for the setting up of the IPCMC.
In delivering his judgment in the civil suit brought by Kugan's mother against the government, Justice Datuk V.T. Singham said the the current IGP, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who was then the Selangor police chief, had tried to cover up Kugan's death.
Kugan was detained on Jan 14, 2009, on suspicion of being involved in a luxury car theft ring in. He was detained at the Taipan police station where he died on Jan 20.
His mother, Indra filed a suit against Khalid, one of Kugan's interrogating officers, V. Navindran, as well as the government, for negligence and misfeasance of public duty.
After a full trial, Singham found that there were elements of cover-up by Khalid, and had also ruled that the injuries inflicted on Kugan could not have been inflicted by only one person. The court also awarded Indra RM851,700 in damages. - July 12, 2013.