Hospital confirms detainee died from blunt force trauma

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A consultant pathologist from Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) had late yesterday confirmed that police detainee N Dharmendran died as a result of "diffusion of soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma".

This was related by Dr Siew Sheue Feng to Dharmendran's family and lawyers N Surendran and Latheefa Koya, as well as to the police investigating officer at the HKL mortuary last night.

According to Surendran ( left ), the pathologist had also found that the wounds were fresh, which the former said proved Dharmendran had been beaten and horribly tortured to death while in custody.

"This is a clear indication by the pathologist of the cause of death as blunt force trauma as a result of the beatings suffered by Dharmendran while being remanded at the Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

"The pathologist also found rotan had been used on the deceased's back as there were (rotan) marks.

"Besides the ears being stapled, the pathologist also found staples on both legs at the ankle area," Surendran said.

He claimed this was the initial findings related by the pathologist, although Siew will prepare his full report on the findings within the next few days.

Surendran, who is also the newly-elected Padang Serai MP, had described this as the worst case of death in police custody since A Kugan in 2009.

This also rules out the earlier statements by the Kuala Lumpur police, where Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Ku Chin Wah was quoted to have said that the 31-year-old died as a result of breathing difficulties .

Police have now classified Dharmendran's death as murder under section 302 of the Penal Code.

In a statement issued late last night, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh said that the post-mortem showed there were criminal elements in the death of the detainee.

"Police have referred the matter to Bukit Aman, and have received orders that the case be classified under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.

"An officer from Bukit Aman will be appointed to carry out further investigation into the matter," said Mohmad in a brief statement.

Funeral to be held today

Surendran said Dharmendran's family members are satisfied with the explanation given by the pathologist and will be claiming the body, with the funeral expected to be conducted later today.

"There will be no (further) post-mortem and the family and I are glad that the pathologist had made these important findings to prove the torture that Dharmendran had suffered.

"This is unlike the first post-mortem in the Kugan affair," he said.

It was reported that Dharmendran was arrested by police when he lodged a police report after being involved in a fight on May 11.

His wife and parents only knew of his arrest four days ago on May 19, and they visited Dharmendran at the police lock-up.

Dharmendran was supposed to have been released on bail yesterday.

However, the family was shocked when they received a call from an unidentified police officer informing them of Dharmendran's death and asked them to collect his body at HKL.

They were allowed to view the body yesterday afternoon and a post-mortem was performed soon after.

In the 2009 case of Kugan, the 23-year-old died at the Taipan police station after he was arrested over a spate of alleged thefts of luxury cars in the area.

His cause of death was initially listed as "pulmonary oedema", or drowning, after a first post-mortem was conducted at the Serdang hospital.

Dissatisfied with the findings, his family pressed for a second post-mortem, which found the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

Action was taken on the pathologist who performed the first post-mortem by the Malaysian Medical Association.

This resulted in an on-going legal suit by the family of the deceased against the police and the government.

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