Sat, Jun 27, 2009
The Straits Times
Family accuses NTU of covering up injuries

THE family of David Hartanto Widjaja yesterday repeated allegations that information about their son's death had been withheld from them.

At a press conference staged at the Furama City Centre Hotel opposite the Subordinate Courts yesterday, the family's Indonesian lawyer claimed they had been allowed to view only Mr Widjaja's head and neck when identifying him, rather than the whole body, despite their request.

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The lawyer, Mr O.C. Kaligis, said the family was also upset that the crime scene had been cleared by the time they arrived in Singapore - about seven hours after his death - and accused Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of 'covering up' Mr Widjaja's injuries.

A pathologist the family consulted also disputed the results of the autopsy carried out by Singapore's Health Sciences Authority.

Dr Djaja Surya Atmadja admitted, however, that he had not seen Mr Widjaja's body.

Also present at the press conference were the dead man's parents and his older brother, Mr William Widjaja, 24, who lashed out at the university for a statement it released when the incident first occurred.

In it, NTU said the student was believed to have stabbed the professor before falling off the linkway between two blocks.

The elder Mr Widjaja said the family felt the statement should not have been released before investigations had been completed.

He said 'the good name of David' has been tainted because of the NTU statement. 'How can they do this? It hurts the family.'

In response, NTU said yesterday that it had sought to handle the family's situation with 'sympathy and respectfulness'.

It said it had given assistance and support to the family during their time of need, as well as made funeral and other administrative arrangements in accordance with their wishes.

The university added that it had provided its full cooperation to the police during investigations.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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