KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand has agreed to perform a second autopsy on security guard C. Sugumaran who allegedly died from a police beating, Sugumaran’s family lawyers said today.
Dr Pornthip is the Thai forensic pathologist who had observed Teoh Beng Hock’s second post-mortem and testified at a royal inquiry that foul play was likely involved in the DAP aide’s mysterious death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s Selangor headquarters in 2009.
“On behalf of the family, we have urgently written to the prime minister, health minister and the director-general of the Health Ministry to issue the necessary authorisations for Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand(picture)
to conduct the second post-mortem on Sugumaran’s remains,” said Sugumaran’s family lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya in a joint press statement.
“We have no objection to a government pathologist being allowed to observe the procedure. We call upon Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak and the other relevant authorities to respond immediately to this request, as the family are unable to carry out the last rites until the second post-mortem is concluded,” they added.
Najib ordered a forensic report last Thursday on Sugumaran after the latter’s death was raised at a Cabinet meeting.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was directed to oversee the forensic report after MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, who is also a minister in the PM’s Department, had raised the security guard’s death during the Cabinet meeting.
Several witnesses who saw Sugumaran collapse on a street near his home in Batu 12, Hulu Langat on January 23 have accused the policemen who arrested him of beating up the man after he was handcuffed.
The police have denied the allegations.
Sugumaran’s death joins a list of other alleged police killings like the custodial deaths of Chang Chin Te earlier this year; A. Kugan and R. Gunasegaran in 2009; the deadly police shooting of 14-year-old schoolboy Aminulrasyid Amzah in 2010, and various other fatal police shootings in the past two years.
A United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention 2010 visit to Malaysian prisons and detention centres reported in 2011 that between 2003 and 2007, “over 1,500 people died while being held by authorities.”
The Bar Council, civil society and several politicians from both sides of the divide have called for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to reform the police force since 2006.