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Under-trial prisoner dies in jail hospital under controversial circumstances

Updated June 24, 2019

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Prison authorities claim the man was brought to jail ‘injured’ and died during treatment at the jail hospital. — AFP/File
Prison authorities claim the man was brought to jail ‘injured’ and died during treatment at the jail hospital. — AFP/File

KARACHI: An under-trial prisoner (UTP) died under controversial circumstances inside the district jail, Malir, officials said on Sunday.

His relatives and other prisoners alleged that the UTP, Sagheer Tanoli, died from torture as there were visible marks on the body.

However, prison authorities claimed that he was brought to jail in an ‘injured’ condition and he died during treatment at the jail hospital.

The UTP was arrested by the Saeedabad police a couple of days ago. The police said that he got injuries on the shoulder when he was taken into custody.

A case was registered against him under sections 380 (theft in dwelling house, etc), 457 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence punishable with imprisonment), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

He was sent to the Malir prison on June 13 and on the night of June 22, his condition deteriorated and he died at the medical ward/hospital of the prison.

Family claims body bore torture marks

His brother, Muhammed Kabeer, told Dawn that Sagheer was a Hafiz-i-Quran and worked at a superstore in Naval Colony near their residence in Gulshan-i-Mazdoor, Saeedabad.

On June 11, police took him into custody at 11.45pm allegedly at the behest of the owner of the superstore. They tortured him and his one ‘hand was broken’ due to torture. When he was sent to the prison, he phoned his father and told him that he was being tortured in custody, Kabeer said.

He said on Saturday morning, they were told that Sagheer died of a ‘heart attack’.

He said but the body bore torture marks and it appeared that he was subjected to an ‘inhuman treatment’.

Autopsy to be performed today

A post-mortem examination will be conducted by a medical board on Monday (today).

A Shah Latif Town police officer, Abdul Qudoos, said that the jail administration had denied allegations of torture and told the police that Sagheer was brought to the prison with a broken shoulder.

On June 21, he complained of pain and a drip was administered to him and when someone tried to wake him up on early Saturday morning for prayer, he was found dead. The prison doctor was called and he confirmed the death.

The officer said that a prisoner gave statement to a judicial magistrate, who visited the prison on Saturday, claiming that Sagheer was ‘tortured’. The police have also taken statement of five other prisoners for inquiry.

SSP-West (Investigation) Abid Ali Baloch told Dawn that the police initiated an inquiry to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the torture by a police team.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2019