Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Custodial death: Family denied inspection of body

Custodial death: Family denied inspection of body
The family of M Ragu, who died in custody at the Kampar district police station, is crying foul for being prevented from inspecting the body for injuries or recording their findings on camera.

NONERagu's (right) nephew M Veeganes said the police ordered him to keep his mobile phone in his pocket when he was at the mortuary at Kampar Hospital to check on the body.

"If there is no suspicion about my uncle's death, why are they preventing me from using my (mobile) phone to take pictures of my uncle?" Veeganes said when contacted.

He said that he was only allowed a brief glance at the body, which was completely covered in a white cloth, with only the face exposed.

There was no visible injury on the face but Veeganes was not able to check whether there were injuries on other parts of body.

Police: Buy the pictures from us

When contacted, Kampar district police chief Ng Kong Soon explained that the family could not touch the remains as "evidence can be disturbed".

Ng said only the forensic team was allowed to perform any examination of the body.

On barring Veeganes from taking photographs, Ng said this was a standard procedure.

"The family is not allowed to take pictures. The police have a team of professional photographers to do so. It is not an easy job.

"The court will query where, when and what camera model was used when the photographs are submitted," Ng told Malaysiakini.

However, Ng said Ragu's family could write in to request to purchase the police photographs.

Police chief: No foul play

On March 6, Ragu, who has a history of a mental illness, quarrelled with and assaulted a shopkeeper.

Subsequently, he surrendered to the police and two days later was sentenced to eight months' jail and fined RM2,000.

Ragu was found dead in the Kampar district police headquarters lock-up on Sunday morning, just before he was to be transferred to prison.

According to The Star, Perak deputy police chief A Paramasivam said Ragu died of "pulmonary embolism".

hindraf uthayakumar klang invite 040412Paramasivam classified the case as "sudden death" and said there was no sign of trauma or external injury.

Lawyer P Uthayakumar (left), who is representing Ragu's family, said the family wants a second post-mortem conducted, if necessary abroad, since the independence of local hospitals was in question.

Uthayakumar said police officers were never charged for murder in custodial death cases and this worrying problem has gone unabated

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