Malaysia

No tear gas chemicals detected, chemist tells Baharudin inquest

The funeral of Baharudin Ahmad last year. — file picThe funeral of Baharudin Ahmad last year. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — The Coroner’s Court here was told no traces of tear gas chemicals were detected on the body or clothes of Baharudin Ahmad, who died during the Bersih rally last year, Bernama Online reported today.

Chemist Dr Mohd Sukri Hassan, who is from the Chemist Department in Petaling Jaya, said the chemical known as CS (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile) was not detected during the two-week analysis of specimens taken from Baharudin.

His clothes, hands, eyes, blood and stomach contents were all swabbed for trace evidence.

There are two reasons why: either the CS had evaporated or there was no CS in the first place, Dr Mohd Sukri explained.

The news portal also reported him as saying he carried out a simulation of rally conditions at an air force field in Jugra, with the help of Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) members where it was determined that CS evaporates quickly and does not adhere to eyes, hands, skin and clothes.

Baharudin died while in the process of being detained by the police following the rally in Kuala Lumpur. He was the only person from the estimated 20,000 in attendance to be reported dead at the gathering seeking electoral reforms. Police used tear gas and shot chemical-laced water at protesters.

During cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Kalmizah Salleh, meanwhile, Dr Mohd Sukri acknowledged receiving two specimen bags from Constable Mohd Hafiz Ahmad on July 11 last year.

They were both kept locked in a cold room at the Chemist Department, he confirmed.

The chemist added it was unlikely there would be any confusion in identifying the specimens stored in the cold room as each item was labelled with a lab sticker and reference number.

In related testimony, Cpl Sainan Wahab, a photographer with the Dang Wangi police headquarters, told the court he took 16 photographs at Avenue K and around KLCC on July 15 last year, after being instructed to do so by investigating officer Sgt Razali Mahmood.

The inquest before Coroner Zulkpli Abdullah resumes on March 20.

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