'I could hear my husband screaming in pain,' says wife of man who died in custody

Natthanan Yoochmsuk, 38-year-old wife of S.Balamurugan
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PUTRAJAYA: The 38-year-old wife of S.Balamurugan told a hearing that she heard him screaming in pain while in the lock up two days before he died in police custody on Feb 8.

Natthanan Yoochmsuk said this at the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) hearing on Monday.

"It was on Feb 6. He had gone out with a friend and later I received a call that he was arrested and brought to Bandar Baru Klang police station," she said.

She added that she went to the police station with her brother in law Kumar and his relative Noor Anizah Abdullah.

" When I got to the station the police said he was inside and that I can't meet him. Approximately 45 minutes later, a group of policemen walked into the station, and shortly after I heard my husband screaming," she said.

Asked to describe the scream, Natthanan said that she could tell that the 44-year-old Balamurugan was wailing in pain.

"I couldn't really make out what he was saying. He was just in a lot of pain. I heard others shouting as well," she said, speaking in Thai through an interpreter.

The mother of one could not hold back tears as she described how hearing her husband's scream left her feeling distressed.

"I just choked hearing him scream like that," she said while desperately trying to wipe the tears off her face.

She claimed that after waiting for a long time, the police asked her to go home and added that she only saw Balamurugan in court the next day, adding that he looked weak and haggard.

Natthanan said that the last time she saw Balamurugan alive was at the North Klang police station where he was taken despite having his remand rejected.

"He ate a little bit of the rice I brought him and finished up the drink I got him. He always spoke a lot but that day he was quiet. I just cried," she said.

Natthanan said that she was told the next morning that Balamurugan was sent to the hospital as he had an accident.

"Soon after I reached the hospital, I learned that he was dead and then I was let into the morgue to see his body," said Natthanan who was married to Balamurugan for 11 years.

The first post-mortem conducted on Balamurugan who allegedly died in the North Klang police lock up on Feb 8 stated that he died from heart problems.

However a second post-mortem on Balamurugan's body was conducted by HKL upon the instructions of the Shah Alam High Court on Feb 15, and this post-mortem determined that he had suffered multiple beatings.

Meanwhile 16-year-old Ang Kian Kok said that he witnessed the abuse sustained by Balamurugan, adding that he, Balamurugan and a person named Tamilarasan were taken to Bandar Baru Klang police station by uniformed policemen and were later abused by plainclothes officers

Ang - who was arrested on the same day as Balamurugan - alleged that Balamurugan was slapped many times and punched in the chest and the abdomen up to 10 times.