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Malaysia probe says political aide driven to suicide

21 july 2011, 17:20
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ©RIA Novosti
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ©RIA Novosti
A Malaysian inquiry into the death of a political aide who fell from the offices of the anti-graft body found Thursday he was driven to suicide by "aggressive and unscrupulous" interrogation, AFP reports.

The body of Teoh Beng Hock, who worked for the opposition alliance, was found in July 2009 beneath the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) tower following his interrogation as part of a graft probe.

A royal commission of inquiry conducted by a high-profile panel began in February following calls for a thorough investigation into the mysterious death which caused a political storm.

The inquest found in a 124-page report that Teoh committed suicide after being put under intense physical and mental pressure.

"He had been deprived of sleep throughout the night and into the morning and had to endure persistent, aggressive and unscrupulous questioning," it said.

The report singled out three officers who allegedly breached procedures when trying to force Teoh into making a statement against his boss, an opposition lawmaker. It was not immediately clear what penalties they could face.

Teoh's family has insisted that the 30-year-old, who was due to marry his pregnant fiancee the next day and was not under suspicion of any crime himself, did not kill himself.

A coroner probing the death has said there was not enough evidence to prove homicide or suicide.

Malaysia's government said in a statement that the report clearly showed "that the MACC officers involved in Teoh’s case acted in a manner that was unprofessional and unacceptable."

"The government deeply regrets the death of Teoh Beng Hock -- it was a human tragedy and nothing like this can be allowed to happen again," it said.

"Appropriate action will be taken against anyone found to have broken the law or violated procedures."

Teoh, who been questioned into the small hours at the MACC building, was working for a lawmaker in Selangor, Malaysia's richest state and a key prize that the opposition won in landmark 2008 elections.

A separate coroner's court is currently probing another man's death at an MACC office in April.

MACC officials found the body of 56-year-old customs deputy director Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, who is thought to have fallen from the window of the third floor of the building, where he was waiting to speak to an investigator.

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