EAIC: Police officers beat Dharmendran to death during violent interrogation

Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya on N. Dharmendran custodial death, April 28, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Chairman of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission, Datuk Yaacob Md Sam speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya on N. Dharmendran custodial death, April 28, 2016. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PUTRAJAYA, April 28 ― The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) today found that the police officers in charge of interrogating N. Dharmendran, who died in police custody in 2013, were responsible for his death.

EAIC chairman Datuk Yaacob MD Sam said that the Serious Crimes Division (D9) police officers beat up Dharmendran while he was in detention and later fabricated evidence to cover up the violent interrogation.

“The commission found the death of Dharmendran a/l Narayanasamy on May 21, 2013 resulted from the use of physical force by the police,” Yaacob said during a press conference at the EAIC headquarters today.

He explained that pathologist report from the Hospital Kuala Lumpur Forensic Department showed that Dharmendran sustained 52 bruises from blunt force trauma which caused “acute massive loss of blood” and eventually led to “hypovolemic shock.”

The deceased was also found with staple wounds on his ears.

“This is shocking to us, there were two staples found embedded on the deceased's ears, one on the right ear and the other on left ear causing puncture wounds on both ears.

“The pathologist confirmed the deceased ears were stapled while he was alive estimated between two to three days prior to post mortem,” he said.

The EAIC also displayed photographs of an apparently healthy Dharmendran taken the morning of his death, but five hours later, a picture taken by the police photographer showed him sprawled on the floor of his cell, dead.

The earlier mugshot also showed that his ears did not have staples in them.

When asked, the EAIC chairman said the report could be used as evidence in the murder trial because all the testimony collected was delivered under oath.

The report also indicated that several police officers, including the then Deputy Head of Criminal Investigation Division SAC Khairi Ahrasa, were responsible for falsifying and tampering with evidence in a bid to cover up the violent interrogation.

Dharmendran, 31, had been detained on May 21 for the attempted murder of two people in Cheras.

He had complained of chest pains while he had been locked up and collapsed at around 4.25pm on May 21. He was pronounced dead on arrival after being immediately sent to the Hospital Kuala Lumpur.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court initially acquitted the four police officers charged with his murder, but the Court of Appeal later ordered the four men to enter their defence this May.

Dharmendran’s death was one of the three deaths in custody in less than two weeks last May, prompting calls for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

The EAIC is a body that oversees the police and other enforcement agencies.

Its report today was based on the cumulative findings of five public hearing sessions co-chaired by four EAIC commissioners including its chairman. They were assisted by former deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Datuk Seri Mohd Jamil Johari, former Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia vice-chancellor Tan Sri Datuk Seri Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hassan Shahabuddin, and former Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee.

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