LONDON: Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has described reports of a man who died hours after he was released from police custody as “deeply concerning”.
Mohamud Mohammed Hassan, 24, was arrested on Friday evening following reports of a disturbance at his home but released from Cardiff Bay police station the following morning without charge.
Hassan was found dead at the same property later on Saturday evening, with his family claiming he had been assaulted while in custody.
Police are describing his death as “sudden and unexplained” and say there were no indications of misconduct issues and or excessive force used by their officers.
On Tuesday, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price asked Drakeford whether he would commit to helping Hassan’s family find answers during Questions to the First Minister at the Senedd.
Price said: “Witnesses were reportedly shocked by Hassan’s condition following his release, saying that his tracksuit was covered in blood and he had severe injuries and bruising.
“There can be no doubt that this is a deeply harrowing case and every effort should be made to seek the truth of what happened – why was Mohamud Hassan arrested, what happened during his arrest, did he have legal representation, was there any aftercare, why did this young man die?
“Whilst we should not prejudge the outcome of any inquiry, will you commit First Minister, to doing everything within your power to help the family find those answers and do you support their call for an independent investigation of this case?”
Drakeford said he had found reports of Hassan’s death “deeply concerning”, and said the circumstances “must be properly investigated”.
He said: “I understand that the police have already referred, as they would have to, this matter to the independent police investigation service.
“The first step in any inquiry will have to be to allow them to carry out their work. I absolutely expect that to be done rigorously, and with full and visible independence.
“I’m glad that the family have secured legal assistance to them in order to pursue their very understandable concerns.
“And if there are things the Welsh government can do, then I will make sure that we attend properly to those, without prejudging in any way the outcome of the independent investigations and now need to follow.”
Hassan’s post-mortem was due to take place on Tuesday.
His aunt, Zainab Hassan, told BBC Wales she saw Hassan following his release on Saturday with “lots of wounds on his body and lots of bruises”.
“He didn’t have these wounds when he was arrested and when he came out of Cardiff Bay police station, he had them,” she said.
“Nothing we do is going to bring him back but we will not rest for a second until we have justice.”
South Wales Police have urged against speculation, saying their early findings “indicate no misconduct issues and no excessive force”, but had referred Hassan’s death to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
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