N. Surendran, Latheefa Koya
We refer to the claim by Kajang police chief that police did not beat C.Sugumar to death and that he died of a heart attack. This statement is a blatant attempt by police to cover-up the case, with the connivance of the Serdang Hospital. Three eyewitnesses have come forward who have testified that Sugumar was chased down by police, handcuffed, beaten and smeared with turmeric. How can the police claim that there was no foul-play, when they have not even recorded the statements of these three witnesses?
The claim by Serdang Hospital that Sugumar died of a heart attack is inherently incredible. Sugumar had no health problems and was only 40 years old. It is unbelievable that a healthy man should suddenly collapse and die immediately upon arrest. When we viewed the body in the mortuary, the deceased was still handcuffed and there was turmeric powder on his face. There were also lacerations consistent with a struggle against the police assailants as described by the witnesses. The police attempt to exonerate themselves by issuing false statements is thus a serious perversion of the course of justice.
It is claimed that the Serdang Hospital forensics department found that Sugumar died of a heart attack. It should be noted that the Serdang Hospital has a history of falsifying post-mortem findings in favour of the police authorities. In the A.Kugan case, Serdang Hospital falsely claimed that Kugan died of water in the lungs when in fact he had been beaten to death in police custody. The Serdang pathologist Prof Dr Abdul Karim Tajuddin was subsequently found guilty by the Malaysian Medical Council(MMC) of professional misconduct for falsifying Kugan's post-mortem findings.
Yesterday, Serdang Hospital once again breached medical ethics by refusing to let Sugumar's family see the body, on instructions from the police. The family were only allowed to see the body upon the insistence of lawyers and activists, after 4 hours of waiting. Serdang Hospital and the Health Ministry have brought shame upon the medical profession. The family of Sugumar will lodge complaints against Serdang Hospital and its pathologists with the MMC in due course.
We demand, on behalf of Sugumar's next-of-kin, that Sugumar's death be classified as murder under s.302 Penal Code. We further demand that all police officers implicated be immediately suspended and arrested to facilitate investigations. We also call upon the IGP to allow and facilitate the carrying out of a second post-mortem upon Sugumar's remains. Until the second post-mortem is carried out satisfactorily, the family will not claim the body.