The lawyer for the families of three men shot dead by cops in Batu Arang, Selangor, on Sept 14 says there are many blanks to be filled in the police’s version of the incident, and that “serious questions” remain.
P Uthayakumar said the police had yet to furnish evidence to back their claim that a shootout and a car chase had ensued between them and the three men.
This, he said, included footage from the dashboard camera of the patrol car, as well as the post-mortem results.
“We have written three letters to the prime minister, home minister and inspector-general of police requesting for the dashcam (footage) and the post-mortem report,” he told FMT.
“We did not get them, so we chose to bury the bodies.”
Uthayakumar is representing the families of Sri Lankan national Janarthanan Vijayaratnam and his brother-in-law Thavaselvan Govindasamy, who were killed alongside a third man, Maghendran Santhirasegaran.
Police claimed the men refused to stop when they were ordered to pull over at Bandar Country Homes, Rawang, and that a 7km chase ensued which ended in Batu Arang.
But family members say Janarthanan’s wife, Moganambal, was also in the car at the time of the incident.
Police, who denied that the woman was present at the time of the shooting, later urged the public to help locate her.
The bodies of Janarthanan and Thavaselvan were buried instead of being cremated according to Hindu rites as family members felt there might be a need for exhumation later.
Uthayakumar said family members also wanted the first information report, statements by the police officers involved in the shootout as well as the identity of the officer who gave the instruction to shoot.
The first information report, he said, would be by the first police officer who lodged a report on the incident.
He added that the dashcam footage was critical to showing how the shootout transpired.
P Uthayakumar displays an image on his phone showing injuries on the body of one of the three men shot dead by police on Sept 14.
Police said Thavaselvan and Maghendran were wanted for gang-related crimes. Janarthanan, meanwhile, was a British permanent resident whom police said had overstayed his Malaysian visa.
But Uthayakumar disputes the claims.
He produced airline tickets and luggage tags issued by Qatar Airways to show that Janarthanan and his family had only recently arrived in Malaysia.
“Police have yet to reply. They don’t have an answer. So, it gives the impression that we are going back to the old days of becoming a police state again,” said Uthaya, who rose to prominence defending those arrested during the height of the reformasi demonstrations of the late 1990s.
As evidence was not forthcoming, he said, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas could grant him special powers to act as a deputy public prosecutor to uncover the truth, the same way lawyers Gopal Sri Ram and Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had been made fiat prosecutors in the ongoing Najib Razak trials and the 2014 Anwar Ibrahim sodomy case respectively.
“The police keep asking, ‘Where is the evidence?’ Give me the powers and I will give you the evidence.
“I will tell you where Moganambal is. I will recover her, dead or alive.”