Sunday, January 25, 2009

M'sia orders murder probe | Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S top prosecutor has ordered a murder probe into the death in police custody of a suspected car thief after family members stormed a morgue to get evidence he was killed, reports said.

Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail told the New Straits Times he had ordered a murder investigation into the death of 22-year-old A. Kugan who died Tuesday during questioning over vehicle thefts in central Selangor state.

'We agreed that the incident be classified as murder as there were bruises on the body,' Mr Abdul Gani told the paper on Saturday after being shown photographs of the body taken by family members and papers by deputy police chief Ismail Omar.

'If investigations reveal that he died from being assaulted, then those responsible will be charged with murder,' he added.

The paper said an initial autopsy reported Kugan died of 'fluid in the lungs' but this did not satisfy family and friends who on Thursday barricaded themselves in the state morgue in order to take photos of the remains.

The family said pictures of the bruised corpse cast doubt on the original findings and police on Sunday agreed to a second autopsy, according to the Star daily.

The Malaysian Bar Council has urged a probe by an independent panel.

'This is not the first custodial death in recent years and our fear is that it will not be the last,' council president Ambiga Sreenivasan said in a statement.

Watchdog groups say Malaysian police have a reputation for violence against suspects with rights group Suaram reporting at least seven deaths in police custody last year. -- AFP

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