While robbing an ATM in Faisalabad last month, Salahuddin stuck his tongue out at the CCTV camera. His cheeky act went viral on social media, but later got him arrested on August 30.
A day after being arrested, the police announced that he had died in police custody. His father, Muhammad Afzaal claimed his son was brutally tortured.
“I bathed his body with my own hands and saw his bruises with my own eyes,” Afzaal said on SAMAA TV’s show Awaz on Wednesday.
He described the marks on Salahuddin’s body and said, “The skin inside his right arm was burnt, either with electrocution or an iron and there were big wounds on his left arm, which had been stitched up.
“One of his eyes was black and swollen, his hands and fingers were discoloured, like they have been tied with ropes,” Afzaal said.
Salahuddin’s father lodged a case on Monday against three police officials over his son’s custodial death. The FIR was registered under sections 302 (punishment for murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The suspects include City A-Division’s SHO Mehmoodul Hassan and investigation officers Sub-Inspector Shafaat Ali and Assistant Sub-Inspector Matloob Hussain. Other policemen who were on duty when Salahuddin died have also been named.
“My son had been suffering from a mental illness since childhood,” Afzaal said. He said Salahuddin was admitted to a mental institute in Chaman for a year and a half but there was no improvement in his health. “We had written [tattooed] our house address on his arm, because his mind didn’t work properly,” he said.
According to the deceased’s father, this was not the first time Salahuddin had been arrested or was involved in a robbery. “I received many complaints earlier and he was arrested many times,” he added. My son even went to Adiala Jail twice, he said. “However, most of the times people brought him back home after seeing the address on his arm,” he said.
“He was presented before a judge earlier, who sent him back after seeing that he suffered from a cognitive impairment,” Afzaal said.
Salahuddin had been missing for many days and the family found out that his son was in the custody of the Rahim Yar Khan on robbery charges through the media. “I contacted the police officers, but did not receive any information about my son.”
Afzaal said the police also sent Salahuddin’s body for a post-morterm examination without informing the family. The police informed the family of his death a day later. Afzaal said he wasn’t able to receive the body because he was filing an FIR at the time. His other family members received it at Sheikh Zayed Hospital.
According to the police, the suspect was being shifted to Sheikh Zayed Hospital after he complained of suffocation but he died on the way. The law enforcers did not initially make his post-mortem report public. However, the autopsy report which was later released describes marks on the deceased’s right hand, right leg and near his right eye.
A video of Salahuddin in police custody also made rounds on social media. In the video the deceased asks “Where did you learn these methods to torture people?” Another video also went viral, in which one police officer holds his arms back while the another police hits him. Pictures of his bruised body are also being shared on social media.
However, no arrests have been made. The Punjab police have declined to give a statement.
On Wednesday, DSP Abbas Akhtar was suspended for “misconduct/inefficiency”. His suspension is with pay.
The Punjab police has come under fire for failing to take action against the police officer involved.