KUALA LUMPUR: In a rare decision, the Kuala Lumpur High Court awarded RM145,000 in damages to Human Rights Party (HRP) pro-tem secretary-general P Uthayakumar for wrongful arrest and detention in 2003.
Today, Uthayakumar filed for a seal order to enforce the July 29 judgment by judicial commissioner Rosilah Yop who had awarded Uthayakumar RM55,000 in aggravated damages, RM50,000 for general damages and RM40,000 in exemplary damages.
The court also awarded him an interest of 8% a year from the day of judgment. It also awarded costs to the plaintiff.
Uthayakumar, in his suit filed on March 8, 2003, named former Selangor CID chief SAC II Abu Bakar Mustafa, DSP Amidon Adnan, ASP R Muniandy, C/Insp Mohd Agmi Abdul Wahab and the government of Malaysia.
In his statement of claim, Uthayakumar said he was wrongfully arrested outside the Sepang magistrate's court for alleged criminal intimidation against ASP G Ponniah, immediately after an inquest proceeding into the death of S Tharmarajah in police custody.
Uthayakumar said that after his arrest, he was brought to the Sepang police station where he was stripped to his underwear and vulgar words were uttered to him by policemen on duty that day.
Senior federal counsel Zureen Elina Mohd Dom, representing all the respondents, had filed an appeal on Aug 26 but the Court of Appeal had yet to set a date to hear the appeal.
Uthayakumar: It's a moral victory
Speaking to reporters today, Uthayakumar claimed that this was a moral victory for those who had been subjected to police abuse.
“Let this be a message to the police that they cannot be high-handed in their approach when dealing with members of the public,” Uthayakumar said.
He added that since this event, deaths in police custody and incidents of trigger-happy police shootings have dropped drastically.
“I can say that since the death of Tharmarajah was highlighted, deaths in police custody and rampant police shootings had dropped by nearly 90%,” Uthayakumar said.
Uthayakumar's counsel M Manoharan said he would be writing to the incoming Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar to remove the pension of former SAC II Abu Bakar Mustafa, who was in charge of Uthayakumar's arrest.
“Though he is now retired, he should not be left off the hook. He should be punished for his misconduct,” said Manoharan, who is also the Kota Alam Shah assemblyman.