Wed, Mar 04, 2009
The New Straits Times
Beaten, branded in police custody

By Alang Bendahara

PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA: Police detainee A. Kugan was beaten to death over a six-day period which also saw him being "branded" 20 times, the second post-mortem report on him revealed yesterday.

He died of kidney failure caused by muscle injury, a finding that differed from the first post-mortem, which had stated that the 22-year-old had died of pulmonary oedema or fluid in the lungs.

Kugan's family lawyer, N. Surendran, said University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) pathologist Dr Prashant N. Samberkar found "V" shaped burns on the back of Kugan's body.

He said the second post-mortem on Jan 25 also found bruises throughout the front and back of the body. The first post-mortem was conducted by the Serdang Hospital pathologist on Jan 21.

Surendran said abrasions were found on his hands and legs caused by handcuffs and ankle cuffs.
The report also revealed intensive haemorrhage in several internal organs including the gall bladder, pancreas, adrenal glands and inside his skull.

Surendran, speaking at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat headquarters in Tropicana Dama-nsara here, said Kugan died of acute renal failure as a result of blunt trauma to the muscles.

The report stated that Kugan's death was because of rhabdomyolysis, the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue caused by injury.

The destruction of muscles lead to the release of the breakdown products such as myoglobin, which may cause acute kidney failure.

The damage may come from physical, chemical, or biological factors.

Surendran said he received the autopsy report with photographs from Dr Prashant at 5.30pm on Monday in the presence of the UMMC legal officer.

He said the report also showed that Kugan's stomach was empty at the time of his death "probably due to the fact that he was starved during six days of interrogation".

Surendran said the report showed the need for the setting up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission to ensure such incidents do not recur.

"The pain that Kugan went through is simply unimaginable. The family wants to see all the perpetrators charged for murder and nothing less than murder."

Surendran said the second post-mortem showed that the assailants could forsee that Kugan would have died.

"The evidence in the second post mortem shows that there was intention for murder."

He said the family had yet to receive a toxicology report in from Australia, but added it would ascertain if drugs were administered to Kugan before his death.

"We understand that the report will arrive soon. It was delayed by the forest fires in Australia."

He said the complete report would be given to Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail at his office in Putrajaya at 2.30pm today.

Also present were Kapar Member of Parliament S. Manikavasagam, Teluk Intan MP M. Manoharan, Human Rights Committee coordinator S. Jayathas and Kugan's relatives.

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