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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another death in prison, family cries foul


Family of R Kumarajah are demanding answers, alleging his death was due to negligence of Kajang prison authorities.
PETALING JAYA: A 27-year-old man, serving time at the Kajang prison, died yesterday, and his family is alleging that his life could have been saved if prison authorities had been sensitive to his plight.
Relating the case at the Kajang Hospital mortuary, G Sivamalar of Lawyers for Liberty said inmate Kumarajah died due to negligence of prison officials.
Kumarajah, 27, who was serving time for petty theft, had complained of stomach ache last Friday and prison authorities allegedly did not provide him medical attention.
The prison’s doctor only gave Kumarajah pain killers on the second day when the pain persisted.
However, on the third day, his stomach bloated up. According to Sivamalar, the doctor had the audacity to suggest that Kumarajah was faking his illness.
“The doctor told Kumarajah to stop play acting and that if he wanted to die, to go ahead. He was sent back to the cell while still in pain,” said Sivamalar.
Kumarajah’s body was brought to the Kajang Hospital Mortuary at 4.40pm yesterday and his family was informed of his death at 10.30am today by the prison officials, said Sivamalar.

Negligence and carelessness
No post mortem has been conducted thus far and the family is demanding that it be done swiftly so as not to delay his burial.
“We are waiting for a post mortem to be conducted. There is not even a single officer from the prison here to explain what actually happened,” said Sivamalar outside the mortuary.
“The case is clear cut. Kumarajah’s death is due to negligence and carelessness of the prison doctor and officials.
“If only they had given proper medical attention to him, most probably his life could have been spared,” she said.
Kumarajah was serving time after being found guilty of motorcycle theft. He was to be released in February 2013.
“We will consult a pathologist for the preliminary findings and also lodge a police report against the prison authorities and the doctor who treated Kumarajah,” said Sivamalar.
“Although we do not think there is any foul play, there is definitely negligence on the part of prison authorities. Looking at his body, we found blood stains near his mouth.”
Kumarajah’s mother M Suryaghandi, 51, when met at the mortuary, said she learnt of her son’s death from his friend in the prison at 9am today.
The prison warden only called much later at 10.30am, said Suryaghandi.
Suryaghandi is a single mother and Kumarajah is her youngest. She lives alone as her daughter is married. She said last saw her son on Oct 25.

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