By Annabelle Lee

The civil suit of alleged death in custody victim Kamarulnizam Ismail has been deferred to May 15 after the government, as of the defendants, applied for more time to file their defence.

(To read this article on Malaysiakini click here.)

In March 2014, Kamarulnizam was found unconscious and later died after spending three days of his 14-day prison sentence at Tapah prison.

Three years later, his family filed a civil suit against the police for assault and against prison authorities for negligence.

“We are at the tail end of the inquest so we filed the civil suit before the statute of limitations (36 months) was up.

“But the government needed more time so Justice Anslem Fernandez decided this (deferral) at the Ipoh High Court today, ” explained the family’s lawyer M Visvanathan to Malaysiakini.

Kamarulnizam, a factory worker, was first arrested at the Bandar Perda police station in Penang for stolen goods in March 2014.

He was later charged under Section 29 of the Minor Offences Act 1955 and sentenced to 14 days jail as well as a RM800 fine. He was then transferred to the Tapah prison.

Three days into his 14-day prison sentence, he was found unconscious in his Tapah prison cell and later died at Tapah hospital.

While the autopsy reported Kamarulnizam died of a severe chest infection, his family found bruises on his body inconsistent with the official cause of death and lodged a police report.

They later requested an inquest into the cause of his death at the Ipoh Sessions Court.

The inquest is almost complete, Visvanathan said.