Another detainee dies, 12th custodial death of the year

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A 25-year-old man who was held at the Kajang Prison reportedly died on June 21, making him the 12th custodial death in just over six months this year.

NGO Suaram, which is handling the case, said the man, identified as Roopan Karnagaran, had no prior health issues.

In a press conference today to submit a memorandum over the incident to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said this is the 12th custodial death of 2021.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member S Arulchelvan said Roopan was detained over involvement in a triple-murder at his neighbour’s house in Dengkil in 2013, when he was 17.

Police said his DNA was found at the crime scene. He was convicted for the crime four years later in 2017 when he was 21. He had appealed against the conviction, maintaining his innocence.

Roopan was held in prison while waiting for his appeal, set for June 29, 2021, but on June 17, he complained of breathing difficulties and was admitted to Kajang Hospital.

He was treated and discharged and brought back to prison. He reportedly died on June 21, eight days before the hearing.

Suaram alleged that the prison authorities were attempting to cover up the death, based on their police report stating that Roopan did not die on the prison grounds.

The family, meanwhile, has lodged three police reports on the incident.

His family’s lawyer has also submitted a request for an inquest on his death to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

According to the lawyer, the AGC had instructed its officers to look into whether a file on a sudden death report was opened, and if there was one, to see if an inquest could be held. – FMT