Suhakam: Conflicting accounts on police shooting

Andrew Ong (Malaysiakini)
Oct 9, 07 — A Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) fact-finding mission into the riot at Batu Buruk in Terengganu has failed to determine the actual circumstances surrounding the shooting of two civilians.

While strongly condemning the use of live bullets by the police during the incident, Suhakam commissioner N Siva Subramaniam said witnesses gave conflicting accounts on the incident.
“According to the constable who fired the shots, he said he was shooting skywards. According to a victim who is now in a hospital, the police officer tembak belakang (shot towards his back),” he said during a briefing on Suhakam’s findings.
Previously, Malaysiakini highlighted that police constable Wan Abdul Aziz, 25, fired four shots during the riots after allegedly being set upon by a mob.
Resulting from this, two men, Suwandi Abdul Ghani, 37, and Muhamad Azman Aziz, 21, sustained gunshot wounds to the chest and neck respectively.
According to Siva Subramaniam, Suwandi, who is presently warded at the Universiti Sains Malaysia hospital, saw the shots being fired.
Muhamad however told Siva Subramaniam that he did not see the shooting take place.
Siva Subramaniam said the full facts of the matter could only be determined through a proper investigation. Suhakam will not be holding a public inquiry into the riot due to legal restrictions.
Molotov cocktail
The trio were among 42 individuals, including 22 police officers, interviewed by Suhakam in relations to the riot.
Suhakam undertook the fact-finding mission after receiving a complaint from elections reforms pressure group Bersih, who claimed human rights violations had occurred during the incident.
In a related matter, Siva Subramaniam revealed that the fact-finding team had viewed two videos, both produced by the police, on the incident.
He said that one of the video provided evidence that a Molotov cocktail was hurled.
Siva Subramaniam conceded that the fact-finding team was unable to obtain video recordings of the incident from civilians because their cameras were allegedly confiscated by the police.
To a question, Siva Subramaniam said the fact-finding team did not confirm this allegation with the police.