Friday, January 16, 2009

7 M'sia cops on abuse charge| Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR - SEVEN Malaysian policemen have been charged with allegedly beating and scalding two detainees with hot water to induce confessions, a lawyer said on Friday in a rare court case involving suspected police abuse.

The officers from Kuala Lumpur's criminal investigations department pleaded innocent Thursday to a charge of causing hurt to two parking lot attendants last month, said government prosecutor Yaacub Chik.

The officers, who were released on bail, face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

District police chief Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid declined to say whether the officers have been suspended. Their trial is scheduled for Feb 17.

The case came to the attention of authorities after one of the victims filed a police complaint alleging that he and the other victim were assaulted and scalded during five days of custody to make them confess to extortion allegations.

Photographs of one of the victim's alleged injuries have also been circulated on the Internet.

Both men were eventually freed without being charged with any crime, said S. Jayathas, an activist representing the independent group Police Watch.

Human rights activist have often accused Malaysia's police of violent tactics against suspects, including incidents that allegedly resulted in the deaths of many detainees in recent years.

However, few police officers have been prosecuted for any such offences. -- AP

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