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Thursday, April 9, 2009

> Kugan's father offers to exhume his body

by Neville Spykerman

The father of the late A.Kugan, who died while under police custody, today offered to exhume his body if that's what it takes to get justice for him.

"I can dig him up if they want," said G. Ananthan a during press conference at the Bar Council Legal Aid Bureau at the Jalan Duta Court Complex.

The 44-year-old labourer said he could not understand what else authorities needed to charge those responsible for killing him.

"Why are those who did this still free, what more do they (authorities) want?" he asked.

Despite speaking softly, Ananthan's words stunned all present and showed just how frustrated he was.
Meanwhile, lawyers acting for the family have sent a letter demanding the return of documents, pictures and samples related to a second post- mortem on Kugan which were seized by police from the University Malaya Medical Centre on Monday.

Lawyer N. Surendren said the second post-mortem was privately initiated by the family and it was unethical for the police to seize the items.

He said toxicology samples which were due to be sent to Australia for analysis were also seized.

Surendren said they will go to court to challenge the seizure if police failed to return the items.

Kugan, a 22-year-old suspected car thief, was arrested on Jan 20 but died five days later in a police lock-up.

Two separate post-mortems have indicated difference causes of death.

The first by a doctor at the Serdang Hospital, on Jan 21, indicated that Kugan died due to fluid in the lungs.

The second, initiated by the family who suspected he was tortured while being interrogated, found that Kugan had died from a condition known as rhabdomyolysis, a rapid break-down of skeletal muscle tissue, due to blunt force trauma which led to kidney failure.

To muddy the water further, an independent committee set up by the Ministry of Health to investigate wide ranging discrepancies indicated a third cause of death which is inflammation of the heart.

The independent committee has been labelled a whitewash by the family's lawyers.

Surendren said the panel made conclusions without the benefit of a post-mortem.

Teluk Intan MP M. Manoharan also pointed out that the Kugan family resisted cremating his body because of fears that the matter would not be resolved.

He said the findings of the independent committee prove that their fears were not unfounded.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo said the Attorney-General should charge the culprits for murder without further delay and leave it to the court to determine which post-mortem report is accurate.

He said the court would be the best place for evidence provided by both pathologists and members of the independent committee to be tested.

"I call on the AG to understand the plight of Kugan's family who are the real victims and allow them to have their day in court." - The Malaysian Insider.