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September 18, 2019

Forensic report confirms ‘ATM thief’ was tortured before death

Top Story

September 18, 2019

RAHIM YAR KHAN: A forensic medical report of alleged viral ATM thief, released on Tuesday, proved that the deceased was tortured, though it did not specify the cause of death.

Salahuddin Ayubi had died in the custody of Rahim Yar Khan police a day after his arrest. In the latest development in the Salahuddin torture-custodial death case, the report confirmed that the deceased was beaten, especially on his right arm and the left side of his stomach that left severe bruising. There were masses of coagulated blood in the parts of Salahuddin's body where he was thrashed, the report stated, adding that the deceased was often out of breath due to a lung disease. Top police officials had denied the claim of pain and torture being inflicted on Salahuddin after the suspect’s father Mohammed Afzal alleged that he was battered to death.

Police, after his death,had said he was transferred to the hospital due to deteriorating health but he passed away. A few days ago, Salahuddin's family had refused to accept the findings of the post-mortem report and filed a petition in the court to exhume the body to carry out a new post-mortem. The Punjab Chief Minister, Usman Buzdar, had ordered the formation of a judicial commission to probe the matter. Salahuddin was arrested late last month after a video of him — allegedly stealing from an automated teller machine (ATM) in Faisalabad and then sticking his tongue out at the camera — went viral on the social media.

Merely a day later, however, it was reported that he had died while in the Punjab Police custody. Ayubi's family, who had said he was suffering from a mental condition, had claimed he died from custodial torture.

On Sept 6, two top police officers were put on special duty: the district police officer (DPO) for Rahim Yar Khan, Umar Farooq, and the superintendent of police (SP) for investigation in Lahore's Cantonment area, Asim Iftikhar, were reassigned to serve as officers on special duty. Farooq was removed from his post as the DPO for Rahim Yar Khan and was directed to report to city police officer for Punjab.

During Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar’s visit to Salahuddin's residence in Kamoke tehsil for condolences, his lawyer had requested him to get the case investigated under the leadership of a deputy inspector-general rank officer, include a clause of terrorism in the case, and shift the case from Rahim Yar Khan to Lahore.

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