Cops afraid to touch HIV+ man

  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Aug 2005

SITIAWAN: Policemen did not dare touch a drug suspect; what more hurt him because they knew he was HIV-positive, an inquest into his death while in custody was told yesterday. 

Former Manjung district narcotics chief Asst Supt Sawaluddin Haminuddin said no one in his investigating team, which carried out a search at L. Yogesrao’s sister’s house in Ayer Tawar on Dec 10, 2003, had tried to hurt him, as they knew he was HIV-positive. 

“We were afraid of getting close to him,” he said when questioned by Chief Insp Jamalulail Ibrahim yesterday. 

He said the team had searched an upstairs room at the house but found nothing, while Yogesrao’s sister stood by the doorway. 

The team then proceeded downstairs to the living room. 

“I heard the suspect saying something to detective Lans Kpl V. Shanmugam who took him to the back of the house.” 

COUNSELLING: Poobalan (right) speaking with lawyer Soosai Raj outside the magistrate’s courtin Seri Manjung yesterday.

“I heard the suspect vomiting although I did not see it. He couldn’t walk properly into the living room after that,” ASP Sawaluddin said, adding that the sister then scolded Yogesrao.  

The sister, he added, had started speaking to Yogesrao in a fierce tone as soon as the team arrived at the house.  

ASP Sawaluddin was the 12th and last witness to testify in the inquest into the death of Yogesrao when under custody of the Manjung district police. 

It was conducted by magistrate T. Sunita Kaur Jessy, with M. Kulasegaran, T. Ellanggovan and J.T. Soosai Raj representing Yogesrao’s family. 

Outside the magistrate’s court in Seri Manjung Soosai Raj told reporters that the magistrate would inform them of her findings in chambers on Thursday.  

When met, Yogesrao’s elder brother, Poobalan said his family hoped the court would make an order to exhume the body to allow for a second post-mortem. 

“We did not cremate his body as required by our religion because we want to find out the truth,” said Poobalan.  

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