Murder case lodged against 3 policemen for allegedly killing viral ATM robber

Updated September 02, 2019

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The man identified as Salahuddin Ayubi of Gujranwala's Kamonkay district was arrested on Friday. — YouTube screengrab/File
The man identified as Salahuddin Ayubi of Gujranwala's Kamonkay district was arrested on Friday. — YouTube screengrab/File

A murder case was registered against three police officials on Monday for allegedly torturing to death Salahuddin Ayubi, a robbery suspect who was arrested after his video of breaking open an ATM machine, making faces and sticking his tongue out at the CCTV camera had gone viral.

The case was registered on a complaint of Ayubi's father against City A-Division's Station House Officer Mehmoodul Hassan and investigation officers Sub-Inspector Shafaat Ali and Assistant Sub-Inspector Matloob Hussain. Ayubi had died in police custody on Sunday.

Ayubi's father Muhammad Afzaal, in a first information report (FIR) lodged in the City A-Division police station of Rahim Yar Khan, where the deceased had been detained, stated that his son was mentally disabled and had been out of touch with him for a while. According to the FIR, since the deceased was mentally ill, Afzaal had tattooed Ayubi's name and address on his son's arm for identification purposes.

Afzaal said that he was not told about Ayubi's arrest by the police and came to know about his son's death through media on Sunday. Upon hearing the news, he tried to contact the police but received no information after which Afzaal, along with two of his nephews, came to Rahim Yar Khan, where he found out that Ayubi had been arrested for theft and was allegedly killed during interrogation.

The complainant further said that police had conducted Ayubi's post-mortem examination without informing the family.

The FIR was registered under Sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

Ayubi, a resident of Gujranwala, was arrested in Rahim Yar Khan when he was caught stealing from an ATM machine on Friday. On Sunday morning, he was reported dead. According to the district police officer's spokesperson Zeeshan Randhawa, Ayubi was behaving like a "mad man" in lockup when he suddenly became unwell. He said that the man was unconscious when he was shifted to the emergency ward of Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital, where doctors confirmed his death.

While talking to reporters today, Afzaal said that his son had been arrested on multiple occasions earlier, but was always released due to his medical condition. Afzaal's legal counsel Usman Khawar Ghuman expressed hope that the nominated persons would be arrested and justice will be done.

Meanwhile, the focal person of Sheikh Zayed Medical College Hospital, Rana Ilyas Ahmed, told Dawn that samples of Ayubi's corpse had been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Laboratory Lahore. He added that it will take a month to prepare a final post-mortem report.

Ahmed did not comment on whether Ayubi's body had been handed over to the family.

As per Randhawa, Ayubi was dead when he was brought to the hospital. According to the focal person for the hospital, the director of the emergency ward, Dr Burhan Mustafa, could not comment on the condition in which he was brought to the hospital.

A video of Ayubi had gone viral on social media a few days ago in which he could be seen robbing an ATM in Faisalabad and sticking his tongue out in jest at both the camera in the corner of the booth and the one installed in the machine itself.