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Malaysia firefighter Muhammad Adib's injuries not consistent with being beaten: Forensic expert

Malaysia firefighter Muhammad Adib's injuries not consistent with being beaten: Forensic expert

Malaysian firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.

SHAH ALAM: The injuries sustained by the Malaysian firefighter who died about a month after the Selangor temple riots were not consistent with those of someone who had been hit, kicked or punched, a forensic expert said on Friday (Mar 22). 

Dr Ahmad Hafizam Hasmi, a forensic medical specialist from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, said this in the coroner's court during an ongoing inquest to determine the cause of Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim's death.

"In my view, the injury pattern on the deceased's body does not match that of a beating," said Dr Ahmad Hafizam. "In addition, there were no injuries on the face, head, abdomen as well as upper and lower limbs that would match injuries from being hit or defending oneself."

READ: 'I miss him terribly,' says mother of Malaysian firefighter Muhammad Adib 

“Based on the pattern of the internal and external injuries on the deceased, my team and I were asked to attend and help out in the reconstruction of the incident by the police on Dec 22,” he said, adding that the post-mortem was conducted on Dec 18.

Adib, 24, died on Dec 17, about three weeks after the riots at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Selangor, which were said to have erupted over the relocation of the house of worship.

Adib had been deployed to the scene to put out a car fire, but became severely injured amid the chaos. 

Dr Ahmad, who was the 24th witness in the inquest, said he was told that a witness, Adib's colleague Shahril Othman, did not see Adib in the front passenger seat of their Emergency Medical Rescue Service (EMRS) van when a Fire Rescue Tender (FRT) vehicle suddenly reversed into it during the riots. 

“Based on the information, I am of the opinion that the most likely possibility that could have occurred that day was that if Adib was actually outside the EMRS van, then he would have been standing with his back towards the fire truck,” he said in response to deputy public prosecutor Hamdan Hamzah, who is conducting the inquest.

“The left side of the deceased took the brunt of the impact of the crash from the edge of the left door frame of the EMRS van, which was open, and the reversing vehicle, thus resulting in the breaking of his left ribs one to seven," Dr Ahmad explained.

"The edge of the EMRS van’s left front door, which is hard, thin and straight is (likely to have caused) such a break, which is like a straight upright line to rib bones one to seven,” he added.

Dr Ahmad Hafizam also said that during the post-mortem, it was determined that two of Adib's broken rib bones had pierced his right lung. 

“The sternum (breast bone) was not broken. The second to fifth right rib bones were broken in the front and the side," he testified. 

"The third rib bone was broken in three places and the fourth rib bone, in two," he added. 

He added that there were also horizontal scratch wounds on Adib’s back, probably due to friction against the left front side key structure plate of the EMRS van.

Elaborating further, he said the impact from the edge of the EMRS van’s front left door could have forced the deceased to lunge forward and fall, with his right ribs hitting a hard and protruding surface such as a road shoulder or any hard structure in the vicinity and subsequently cause injury to the victim’s right thorax.

“There were scratch marks on the back of the right lower arm, back of the left elbow and on the right knee matching the friction injury one suffers from falling on a hard surface.

“In my view, the impact on the deceased’s right chest was strong due to the combination of the force from the EMRS van on his back and the momentum of the deceased body when getting out of the EMRS,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Hafizam, who has handled high-profile post-mortem cases like that of the murder of deputy public prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais, however, said that based on the autopsy report, he could not determine whether Adib got out of the EMRS van voluntarily or was pulled out by others.

“From the evidence based on the external injury pattern and broken rib bones I cannot safely set aside allegations that the deceased was injured due to being squeezed between two hard surfaces until there is more credible supporting evidence,” he said.

The hearing before coroner Rofiah Mohamad continues on Mar 26. 

This story has been updated to include more details. 

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