Sunday, January 9, 2011

Death in custody: ‘My husband was tortured’

KUALA LUMPUR: A wire-man was found dead at the Bukit Jalil police lock-up here yesterday morning in yet another death in custody case.

M Krishnan, 37, was found dead in the lock-up and his wife, P Revathi, 37, claimed he was tortured to death.

She lodged a report at the Sentul district police headquarters at 2pm today, demanding a second post-mortem be conducted. She was accompanied by N Surendran, the family’s lawyer.

Surendran is also a human rights member of the NGO Lawyers for Liberty, and PKR vice-president.
Also with them was Kapar MP S Manikavasagam.

According to police, the initial post-mortem results showed the death was related to ulcer, but Krishnan’s family disputed it, claiming there were bruises on the body.

Police have classified the case as sudden death.

“There were bruises all over his back, an open cut wound on his right abdomen, and a bruise on his right eye. I believe he was tortured till he died,” Revathi said in her report.

Revathi said Krishnan was in good health. “How could he die all of a sudden?” she asked.

“I hold the Inspector-General of Police (Ismail Omar) and the government responsible for his death,” said Revathi, who also urged that investigations be taken over by Bukit Aman federal police headquarters.

She said that police did not inform her about his demise, but an inmate, Sargunan, who was with Krishnan at that time, told her about it when she went to the mortuary at UKM Medical Centre in Cheras here.

Sargunan, who was released yesterday, also alleged that he saw Krishnan being stepped on by policemen.

Said Manikavasagam: “Sargunan told me that police had ignored Krishnan when he complained of stomach aches. When he tried to wake Krishnan up yesterday morning in the cell for breakfast, the latter just collapsed.”

Fundamental right

Surendran said he would get Sargunan to lodge a police report on what he saw.

“Despite all the marks, the hospital is saying it is ulcer. We must have a second post-mortem as it is a fundamental right of the family,” he told FMT, adding that he was disappointed with the hospital authorities for stopping the family from viewing the body.

“This is just like A Kugan’s case. We’ve had so many cases where the hospital is working with the police to cover up.

“Don’t force the family to go to court,” said Surendran.

(Kugan, 23, a suspected car thief, died in police custody on Jan 16 last year. A policeman was charged with causing grievous hurt to Kugan at the interrogation room at the Taipan police station in USJ, Subang Jaya.

The policeman, Kons V Navindran, will know on Jan 28 whether he would be required to defend himself in the case.)

Surendran said peaceful assemblies will be held till Krishnan’s case is resolved.

“We will be gathering at Bukit Aman at 1pm on Monday to hand over a memorandum to the IGP,” Manikavasagam said, adding that he saw Krishnan’s wounds and was convinced it was not a natural death.

“Last week there was K Sivam, 43, who also died at the Sentul police lock-up. It seems that deaths in police custody are happening every week, every month. The Indian community is unhappy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cheras district police chief ACP Mohan Singh said only his superiors can decide if there is a need for a second post-mortem.

He said Krishnan was arrested in Taman Miharja on Jan 3 and remanded for four days for drug possession.

“He died yesterday morning. Earlier, he was brought to the hospital for treatment of his stomach pains,” he said, adding that the case was classified as sudden death. - Free Malaysia Today