Indian official needed for autopsy on dead Indian prisoner

Indian official needed for autopsy on dead Indian prisoner

An autopsy to establish the cause of death of Indian national Chambail Singh, allegedly assaulted by prison staff, would be carried out only when an Indian official was present to witness the procedure, Pakistani officials said today.

Singh, who was being held at Lahore's Kot Lakhpat jail, died a month ago and his body has been kept at the mortuary of Jinnah Hospital since then.

"We have not yet received any request from the concerned authorities to carry out the autopsy of Chambail Singh," Mudassar Hussain of the Forensic Department of Jinnah Hospital told PTI.

Kot Lakhpat Jail's Additional Superintendent Ishtiaq Ahmed told PTI that the autopsy could be done only when an official of the Indian High Commission is present.

"The Home Department has written to the Indian High Commission in this regard.

According to the rules, the presence of an official of the embassy is mandatory during the autopsy of foreigners," he said.

The delay in performing an autopsy on Singh's body was due to the Indian authorities, Ahmed contended.

Singh was serving a five-year sentence at Kot Lakhpat Jail after being convicted of espionage.

Officials said Singh had felt a pain in his chest while having breakfast on January 15 and was taken to hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.

However, Tehseen Khan, a Christian lawyer who recently completed a 42-month sentence for a fraud case, claimed Singh had died after he was allegedly beaten by jail staff.

Authorities launched a judicial inquiry into the death and Magistrate Afzal Abbas recorded the statements of 14 Indian prisoners who were in the same barrack as Singh.

However, the magistrate is awaiting the findings of the autopsy to finalise his report.

There are a total of 33 Indian prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail and officials have said they are safe.

The records of Kot Lakhpat Jail state that Singh was arrested near the border at Sialkot in 2010.

He was brought to the jail last June and was due to complete his sentence in 2015.

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