Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Second post-mortem: Case management set for tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR: The family of M Krishnan, the wireman who died in police custody on Jan 7, today filed an application to the High Court for a second post-mortem to be conducted.

The court has fixed tomorrow for case management of the application (to set a date for hearing).

The application, by Krishnan’s widow P Revathi, named as defendants the Inspector-General of Police, the Cheras district police chief, the head of Bukit Jalil police station, the magistrate and public prosecutor.

They also asked for an inquest to be held before another magistrate.

“Why are the police not allowing a second post-mortem? Why? Do they have something to hide?” asked a distraught Revathi at the court lobby here.

“We don’t mind if you say he is guilty but we just want to know why he died. The government is not helping us, why should we vote for them?” she said.

Revathi was was accompanied by a large crowd of supporters to the court. Her six children and Krishnan’s mother E Letchumy were also with her.

“We’re not rich people. My grandchildren’s education is disrupted because of this. I want justice, there’s no reason to beat up my son,” said 55-year-old Letchumy.

Krishnan, 36, was the eldest of her five sons.

Lawyer Gurmit Singh submitted the application on behalf of the family.

Police make U-turn

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, one of the opposition leaders present at the court, said the government should step in and accede to the family’s request for a second post-mortem.

“The hassle and stress of going through legal proceedings is unnecessary. Allow the second post- mortem and let the findings speak for themselves,” said Gobind.

“I ask that the second post-mortem be automatic for deaths in custody. I don’t see why the Attorney-General or police should object,” he said.

Gobind added that a second post-mortem had proved invaluable in cases of deaths in custody as in the cases of A Kugan and Teoh Beng Hock.

“I also call on the government to set up an independent forensic research institute so that we have a better system and to check on the quality of our forensic pathologists,” said Gobind.

Lawyer N Surendran, Port Dickson state assemblyman M Ravi, and a number of PKR members were also present to lend support to Revathi’s family.

Last week, police said that they would be seeking a second post-mortem on Krishnan, but made a U-turn when the Attorney-General’s Chambers advised a different course of action.

On Jan 3, Krishnan was arrested with several others in Taman Miharja, Cheras, on suspicion of possessing drugs.

Four days later, Krishnan was found dead at the Bukit Jalil police station lockup where he was remanded. According to the police, initial post-mortem results showed his death was related to an ulcer.

But Krishnan’s family disputed the claim and said there were bruises all over his back, an open cut wound on his right abdomen, and a bruise on his right eye.

A jailmate, A Sargunan, came forward and said that Krishnan was tortured to death by policemen and subsequently lodged a police report, saying he saw Krishnan being beaten up and trampled upon by policemen in boots.

He also claimed that Krishnan was denied medical assistance.