THE results of the second autopsy on A Kugan raise several serious questions, mostly relating to the integrity of the police force and the independence of the pathologist who conducted the initial autopsy. The fact that the results of the second autopsy differ so extensively from that of the first smacks of an apparent attempt to protect members of the police force who were in charge of A Kugan during the period of his detention.
We question the conduct of Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, particularly the intimidatory tactics he adopted. We also question his exposé based on unconfirmed and potentially malicious information of Kugan’s alleged wrongdoings, which are wholly irrelevant to the cause of death. This information, which was released to the public, only serves to divert public attention away from the brutal manner of Kugan’s death in the hands of police officers who are supposed to uphold the rule of law.
The alleged cover-up by Khalid and all those acting in concert would not have been exposed if not for the forceful and dogged determination of Kugan’s family and the activists involved. This merely cements, in the mind of the public, the perception that people must push the boundaries of the law and take matters into their own hands in order to obtain justice.
We call upon the Malaysian Medical Council to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into the professional misconduct of Dr Abdul Karim who had carried out the flawed first autopsy.
We also call upon the authorities to immediately investigate thoroughly the manner of and the circumstances surrounding Kugan’s death. Any further delay will undermine the public’s confidence in our law enforcement agencies in general, and the police in particular.
Protesters accompanying Kugan’s hearse to the burial grounds were demanding for IPCMC to be set up
We reiterate therefore the need for an independent, external oversight mechanism, namely the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), to restore public confidence in the police force.
Although Kugan had been arrested on suspicion of having committed a crime, he was nonetheless entitled to the full protection of the police force pending a proper investigation and any consequential court proceedings. The police force must protect the rights of suspects, and not use the fact that they are apparently guilty as an excuse for any mistreatment.
Those responsible for Kugan’s death must be identified and brought to justice as soon as possible. Justice delayed is justice denied.
Malaysian Bar Council
4 March 2009