PETALING JAYA: A second post-mortem conducted on A Kugan, who died while in police custody, shows that he was beaten so badly he died of kidney failure.
The new autopsy, which was conducted by Universiti Malaya Medical Centre’s pathologist Dr Prashant N Samberkar, concluded that “blunt trauma to skeletal muscles” caused a breakdown in muscle cells.
Such fragments then entered the kidneys through the bloodstream.
“Some of these, such as myoglobin, are harmful to the kidney and may lead to acute kidney failure,” the report said.
The post-mortem identified 42 separate external injuries, including “multiple ‘V’-shaped imprint burn wounds on the skin of the back” cause by a hot iron.
It found extensive hemorrhaging throughout the body, including the spleen, spine and head, as well as evidence of starvation.
Excerpts of the report were read out by N Surendran, the lawyer engaged by Kugan’s family, at a press conference today that was held at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters in Merchant Square, Tropicana.
Kugan, 22, who was arrested on 15 Jan on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars, died while in police custody at 11am on 20 Jan.
Indictment of police
Surendran called the new findings a “damning indictment of the Malaysian police force”.
“We hope that the police hang their heads in shame, institute reforms, and stop putting obstacles in the way of the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC),” Surendran said.
Kugan’s father, R Ananthan, 44, said that the family was sad but relieved at the report’s findings.
“We don’t want other people to be treated like this,” Ananthan said, when asked by reporters on what he hoped the second post-mortem would achieve.
Kapar Member of Parliament (MP) S Manikavasagam, Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran, and Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud — all from the Pakatan Rakyat — accompanied Kugan’s family at the press conference.
Also present were PKR secretary-general Datuk Sallehuddin Hashim and Police Watch Malaysia representative S Jayathas.
Importance of second post-mortem
Manogaran said that the second post-mortem report would be handed to the Attorney-General’s office in Putrajaya tomorrow at 2.30pm.
Manogaran urged Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to consider the new findings seriously, saying, “This is what Malaysians want: that whoever did it answers in court.”
He also called for regulations to be put in place that would make it mandatory for every police interrogation to be videotaped.
Gobind said that the post-mortem’s findings clearly showed that those who inflicted these injuries did so with the intent to cause death.
“There is sufficient basis to charge those responsible,” he said.
According to Gobind, the case demonstrated the significance of the right of the families of those who die in custody to demand for a second post-mortem.
“The first post-mortem does not reflect a tenth of what the second post-mortem shows,” he said.
The first post-mortem, conducted at Serdang Hospital, stated that Kugan had died because of fluid accumulation in the lungs. However, Kugan’s family demanded for a second post-mortem to be independently conducted after they found his body bruised and marked.
The new report revealed that the initial autopsy had failed to examine the body below the chest area.
Mourners at Kugan’s funeral on 28 Jan 2009
A human rights issue
Expressing shock at the injuries Kugan sustained that led to his death, Dr Siti Mariah said, “I hope this doesn’t become a racial issue. This is about humanity.”
Jayathas added, “This is about a Malaysian citizen.”
Jayathas also called for an inquiry into the deaths of six Indian Malaysians in Kulim caused during a police shootout.
According to Perak police chief Datuk Syed Ismail Syed Azizan, those killed in Kulim were believed to be involved in armed robbery cases reported in Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor.
However, Manogaran revealed that he had photographs of the six deceased that showed “bullet marks right on the top of the head”.
“We will reveal these photos at another, appropriate time,” he added.
When asked whether he feared that the issue would be politicised, Surendran told The Nut Graph that Kugan’s death had nothing to do with politics.
“We’re just presenting the truth,” he said, adding that the second post-mortem report was independent, and its findings were very clear.
“We used the [PKR headquarters for this press conference] only because it was free and the most convenient,” Surendran said.