Based on preliminary findings, R Kumar Rajah died due to infection of the heart muscle and not because of HIV.

PETALING JAYA: A post-mortem has finally been performed on the remains of R Kumar Rajah, 27, who died at the Kajang Prison on Oct 29 after complaining of severe stomach ache.

The preliminary findings of the post-mortem, conducted at the Serdang Hospital, found that Kumar had died due to an infection of the heart muscle.

Contacted later, Lawyers for Liberty’s G Sivamalar said Kumar did not die due to HIV as claimed by the authorities.

“We don’t understand how it was claimed that he died because of HIV. But even if he did, there is no reason for the police to close the case just because of him being HIV positive… the fact that he died under their custody cannot be denied,” she added.

After a police report was lodged against Kajang Hospital for refusing to perform the post-mortem, the police made a fresh application to the magistrate and the second application was approved.

The Kumar’s family and Lawyers for Liberty insisted that the infection could have been easily treated with antibiotics.

“It was known that for three days he had complained of severe pain. As such, why was he not treated? This is tantamount to criminal medical negligence. Prison authorities should be held responsible,” Sivamalar said.

“This also brings to light how prisoners are treated in prisons. We want a special commission to look into the matter. Although they are prisoners, they are still humans and should be treated as such,” she added.

Sivamalar pointed out that even if Kumar was HIV positive, that made him more vulnerable and therefore when he complained of pains, he should have been taken to the general hospital.

“If he was indeed HIV positive, prison authorities should have been more careful. Instead, the prison authorities have been reckless and careless.

“As such, his death is considered as manslaughter,” she said.

Previously, the family and several opposition leaders accused the police, Kajang Hospital and the magistrate of colluding with the prison authorities to cover-up the case by not agreeing to a post-mortem.

It was alleged that the deceased, who was serving a three-year sentence for motorcycle theft, was denied proper medical assistance and his death was only informed a day later to his family.

Kumar was supposed to be released from prison next February.

Alyaa Azhar | November 2, 2012, Free Malaysia Today