Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dharmendran died from multiple beatings, forensic report confirms

 File photo of family members mourning at Dharmendran’s funeral in Kuala Lumpur last week.

A forensic report revealed today in detail the horrific injuries that N. Dharmendran received, causing his death in custody last week.

This comes as the police force initially claimed that Dharmendran, 31, died from “breathing difficulties”, which has been refuted by the forensic report by Dr Siew Sheue Feng from Hospital Kuala Lumpur’s Department of Forensic Medicine.

“In my opinion, the cause of death was diffuse soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma,” the report said, referring to bruises from multiple beatings.

“There was no significant natural disease found in his body that could have caused or contributed to his death at that particular moment in time.”

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The report also suggested that Dharmendran was defenceless — kneeling or sitting in a low position, and handcuffed — when he was allegedly beaten.

According to the report, subcutaneous haemorrhage (bleeding under the skin) on the late Dharmendran’s body was found to be more severe in both shoulder regions, at the rear of the thorax (between the neck and diaphragm) and in both lower limbs.

Double “tramline” bruises and abrasions ― consistent with handcuff marks ― were found on both of his wrists.

Both of Dharmendran’s ears were still pinned with metal staples when he was examined, and several puncture wounds were also found on his legs, said the report.

More double “tramline” bruises were found on the back of his hips. The family’s lawyer, N. Surendran, suggested that they might have been caused by a blunt stick such as the rattan cane.

The deceased also suffered from haematoma (blood clots or swelling) on the left half of his face. Internal examination found subgaleal haematomas ― bleeding in the cranial cavity ― on the left region of his scalp.

“No defensive wound was identified on the body of the deceased. The overall pattern of these injuries is neither self-inflicted nor accidental in nature,” the report noted.

Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Ku Chin Wah had last week claimed that Dharmendran died due to “breathing difficulties”.

State news agency Bernama also reported on May 22 that Dharmendran had complained of chest pains while he had been locked up at about 9pm the night before, and was pronounced dead on arrival after immediately sent to Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

The forensic report today, however, stated that Dharmendran was brought in dead to the hospital at 8.30pm on the same night.

According to the report, the police force had informed the forensic department that Dharmendran was allegedly found dead in the police lockup. The police was also aware that the deceased was a known asthmatic and had difficulty in breathing.

Last month, Surendran had also revealed autopsy report which he claimed disputed the police’s account of two men allegedly gunned down by police in a shootout in Cheras last year. According to him, post-mortem reports suggested that the deceased were kneeling when they were shot.

Surendran, who was the lawyer for the families of the victims, said that most of the multiple gunshot wounds on the victims’ bodies had downward trajectories, which he alleged had contradicted police version of events that one of the men had been shooting at the police from their car while being chased.

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