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Death of 14-year-old who killed himself after police interrogation raises many issues says filmmaker




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Filmmaker Martyn See has taken the Singapore Police Force to task for the unnatural death of a 14-year-old boy who allegedly committed suicide after the police interrogated him for a case of outrage of modesty.
Referring to a report on the suicide which said:
“The Secondary 3 boy was being investigated for molest before he fell from his 14th-storey window. He had been taken into police custody and released on bail on the same day of his death.
His mother said he had admitted to the crime during the police interview.
But when she later probed him, she said he told her: “I did not do it, but since everyone thinks that I did it, then I did it.”
The filmmaker commented:
“A 14-year-old has killed himself because he was investigated by the police.
Getting a call from the police in Singapore can wet the pants of many adults, let alone a 14-year-old boy. This is symptomatic of living in a state where police powers trump the legal rights of individuals.”

Mr See expressed that the death of the teenager raises many issues because teenagers may not know their legal rights.
Commenting on her post of the same teenager’s death, prominent blogger Kirsten Han said, “I knew that investigators are only required to allow access to legal counsel within an unspecified “reasonable time” but had no idea that parents/guardians aren’t even allowed in the room when a minor is questioned. This is stunningly bad practice – how can we be sure that a statement taken from an intimidated, frightened kid wasn’t coerced?”
“Lionel de Souza’s (former policeman) answer is also unacceptable. It almost reads as if he is coming from a position where the minor is guilty of something and having a parent would stop the police from getting it out of him. But wouldn’t allowing legal counsel be present actually help make sure everything is above board and due process be followed?”, Ms Han added.
Medical doctor and Singapore Democratic Party’s candidate in the last general election, Paul Tambyah, writing on Ms Han’s post said that this case can be brought up to the United Nations since we are signatories to the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child‘.
Article 40 of the Convention requires:
“States Parties recognize the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child’s sense of dignity and worth, which reinforces the child’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of others and which takes into account the child’s age and the desirability of promoting the child’s reintegration and the child’s assuming a constructive role in society.
“To be informed promptly and directly of the charges against him or her, and, if appropriate, through his or her parents or legal guardians, and to have legal or other appropriate assistance in the preparation and presentation of his or her defence”.

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