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Sugumar to be laid to rest, finally

 | June 7, 2013

The family of C Sugumar, who died while being arrested, more than five months ago has decided to give the government 48-hours before burying him.

UPDATED

PETALING JAYA: The family of C Sugumar has given the government 48 hours to allow, at least, a local pathologist to perform a second autopsy.

PKR vice-president N Surendran, PKR Subang MP R Sivarasa and Latheefa Koya were the lawyers who accompanied the family today.

Surendran said that a second post mortem was allowed in local hospitals, but now even that right was taken away.

“All this while they said a second autopsy is allowed but now even HKL and UMMC have denied us a second autopsy,” he said.

“Both the directors of HKL and UMMC have told us to produce a court order to go on with the second autopsy,” he added.

Surendran claimed never before has this happened in cases of death in custody.

“A family never had to wait this long to get a second autopsy performed. This is absurd,” he said.

“Even in the case of A Kugan, a court order was never required. So, what is the government’s true agenda?” he added.

Sugumar, a 40 year old security guard, was allegedly handcuffed, chased and beaten by police officers and members of the public on Jan 23.

Surendran said that only last week the Ministry of Health once again changed their mind on allowing the second autopsy.

“All this while they allowed a second autopsy and now they “flip flop” on their own decision to say a court order is required,” said the Padang Serai MP.

“Yesterday we wrote an official letter to the minister Dr S Subramaniam demanding him to withdraw the demand for a court order,” he added.

Surendran said another demand was to allow Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand to perform the second autopsy.

“If the government still refuses to lift the ban on Pornthip, they should at least withdraw their demand for the court order,” he said.

“If the government really has nothing to hide, they should sincerely allow the second autopsy without a court order. The family has suffered enough,” he added.

Sivarasa, another lawyer for the family, said that he was confused over the governments sudden reversal of position.

“The Ministry of Health and the police wrote to us showing no objections on the request for a second autopsy from local hospitals on Feb 6,” he said.

“This clearly shows that the sudden reversal of position comes from the very top authority. Only they can give such orders,” he added.

Sivarasa also agreed that Kugan’s case should be used as a precedent where no court order was required for a second autopsy.

“They didn’t need a court order then, the government needs to review their requirements,” he said.

“They must re-visit the Pornthip request or withdraw the demand for a court order. The family’s gief has been prolonged for far too long,” he added.

The family of Sugumar has decided to perform the final rites and proceed with the burial if the government doesn’t revert within 48 hours.

“We give the prime minister Najib Tun Razak and the government a 48 hour ultimatum. Failing which, we will go ahead with Sugumar’s final rites,” said A Kuppusamy, uncle of Sugumar.

“We may conclude our crusade for a second autopsy, but we will never give up in the battle for justice,” he added.


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