KUALA LUMPUR, Jul 12: The Malaysian Medical Council, the body responsible for overseeing all medical doctors in the country, has found Serdang Hospital pathologist Dr Abdul Karim Tajudin guilty of negligence for failing to prepare an honest report into the death of A Kugan whose death under police custody triggered protests in 2009.
OFFICIAL BRUTALITY … Beating marks on Kugan’s dead body 

In his first port-mortem report, Abdul Karim said Kugan had died due to “water in the lungs” (pulmonary oedema). The findings were later disputed by a second report by Dr Prashant N. Samberkar from University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) who found that Kugan’s death was caused by severe beatings (acute renal failure due to blunt trauma to skeletal muscles).

The MMC found Abdul Karim guilty under the the Council’s guidelines pertaining to “Ethical Implications of Doctors in Conflict Situations”, citing he failed to conduct proper examination and report in his capacity as a government pathologist or forensic pathologist entrusted with performing an autopsy on the body of the deceased who died while in custody.

The Council however chose to only give a warning to Abdul Karim as a punishment.

In his response, rights lawyer and PKR vice president N Surendran suggested that the punitive action against the doctor was mild, but said it vindicated Kugan’s family who had from the start accused the police of foul play.

“We welcome the finding of guilt which vindicates the stand of Kugan’s family from the very beginning that Kugan had been beaten and tortured to death by police personnel,” he said in a joint statement with Teluk Intan member of parliament M. Manogaran

Kugan, detained in January 2009 on suspicion of being involved in car theft in Kajang, was brought to the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya where he collapsed and died five days later. His funeral was attended by thousands of people who staged a long funeral procession.

However, police constable V. Navindran, the lone officer charged with causing Kugan’s death, was acquitted due to prosecution’s failure to establish a prima facie case against him.