Single Mum Frets Over Teenage Son On Chain Remand Thousands Spent
A single mother has claimed that her 18-year-old son has been on a chain remand since February and is currently being investigated under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca).
'Chain remand' refers to remand orders being granted as soon as the previous one expires and so on and so forth.
T Priscilla Devi (above), 44, said she did not know why her son, K Mitheswaran, was arrested under Poca.
In a media conference at the Suhakam office in Kuala Lumpur today, Devi said police arrested Mitheswaran on Feb 23 in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. Her elder son Nisant Raj was also arrested but released the same day.
She said she was told that Mitheswaran was detained at the Bandar Perda district police headquarters (IPD) after five grammes of methamphetamine was allegedly found on him.
"However, when asked further, the police said the weight of the drugs was only 0.5 grammes and it was for personal use," she said.
Mitheswaran was remanded for three days until Feb 26 after which he was re-arrested and the investigation changed from possession of drugs to one of house breaking-in.
On Feb 27, he was remanded for a further six days until March 4.
(From left) Suaram CEO Sevan Doraisamy, Devi and Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph
"When I met my son on Feb 28, I saw his hand had dark spots. He said during interrogation by the Narcotics Department on Feb 24, he was assaulted and subject to electric shocks for at least four hours.
"He was then forced to sign a 30-page document without reading it," she said.
Devi said on March 2, police had informed her that his son would be arrested under Poca but was to be taken to the Kulim district police headquarters first to be investigated over house break-in incidents in the district.
His remand order was then renewed at the Kulim courts and he was returned to the Bandar Perda IPD on March 11. Subsequently, he was brought to Penang High Court on March 12 to be arrested under Poca.
Under Poca, police have the power to arrest and detain an individual without trial for up to 60 days.
Missing cash claim
"I have been going through hell right now. I am a single mother and jobless. I depend on my two boys to help me," she said.
T Priscilla Devi
Devi claimed that several cops had taken money from her under the pretext of providing food for her son during his detention and that she had paid out around RM3,800 to them.
She also claimed that when Mitheswaran was arrested, the police took RM1,500 from him and the money has yet to be returned. "I had to borrow money from relatives to pay the police," she claimed.
Seberang Perai Tengah police chief Shafee Abdul Samad, when contacted, urged Devi to file a police report over the matter.
When asked why Mitheswaran was being probed under Poca, Shafee said he was being investigated over links to five breaking-and-entering cases.
Human rights NGO Suaram CEO Sevan Doraisamy, who accompanied Devi at the media conference, said Poca, in this case, had been misused to probe a juvenile.
"This is human rights abuse and clearly the police have arbitrarily arrested him [...] and what is more worrying is that the magistrate had become a 'rubber stamp' for the police to use Poca against a juvenile," Sevan said.
Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph
Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph commented that there was no reason to keep Mitheswaran under Poca.
"Why do the police want to keep him for days? You (the police) arrest someone because you have a reasonable doubt and reasonable evidence; you cannot keep the person and try your luck (in looking for evidence).
"If they have evidence, just charge him but don't keep him using Poca. Each day means a lot for human beings being kept in prison," he said.
Joseph added that Suhakam will investigate Devi's allegations under the Suhakam Act. - Mkini
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