US rights report: 721 deaths in Malaysian prisons!

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A US human rights report on Malaysia indicated the country saw a massive number of prisoners dying in Malaysian prisons across the country.

The report said in May last year the government revealed that from the beginning of 2013 through April (2016), 721 prisoners died in the country’s prisons, an average of 18 deaths per month.

However, in June last year the government disclosed there were 50 deaths in police custody from the beginning of 2013 through April of the same year, with only one death allegedly caused by the police.

In July last year, one R. Sri Sanjeevan, an activist working on police corruption and whom police arrested on extortion charges, said police blindfolded and beat him while denying him medical treatment.

Consider that in Malaysia, crowded and understaffed courts often resulted in lengthy pretrial detention, sometimes lasting several years.

The International Center for Prison Studies reported that pretrial detainees made up approximately 26 percent of the prisoner population as of mid-2015!

Civil society activists disputed this, claiming police were responsible for more of the deaths in custody.

Overcrowding in prisons and immigration detention centers, particularly in facilities near major cities, remained a serious problem in Malaysia.

Some prisoners and detainees died, including while in police holding cells.