Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif was not tortured, says expert

Pakistani news anchor Arshad Sharif

The late Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif. He was shot dead at a police roadblock on the Nairobi-Magadi road. 

Photo credit: Aamir Qureshi | AFP

Journalist Arshad Sharif was tortured for two to three hours and then killed, Pakistan media reported on Wednesday, but an expert who analysed post-mortem examination findings has discredited this account of his death last month in Kenya.

The reporting by sections of Pakistan media sought to cast doubt on the official account by Kenyan authorities that the prominent journalist was shot dead by police at a roadblock in a case of mistaken identity.

A news website known as Dunya on Tuesday night reported that Sharif, who was killed along Magadi Road in Kajiado County, was “brutally martyred here in the country.”

The revelations were made by a journalist who runs a programme on the website and he gave details of what he described as “shocking details of the cold-blooded [killing].”

“The senior journalist was brutally tortured for over three hours and his nails were pulled from fingers before being martyred, while his fingers and ribs were also broken due to severe torture,” the publication reported.

Premeditated assassination

He sensationally claimed that the death was a premeditated assassination saying that “the shots were fired from a close range on the back of his [Sharif] head.”

Due to this report, the Nation reached out to Dr Ahmed Kalebi, who is an independent consultant pathologist based in Nairobi, who analysed the two post-mortem examination reports to explain the cause of death.

Dr Kalebi explained that the probable time that lapsed between injury and death was between 10 and 30 minutes.

“The authors of the report simply state that the likely time interval between the time when the deceased suffered the bullet injuries to the brain and right chest, and the time he died, is likely 10-30 minutes,” he added.

“Whereas the report doesn’t elaborate on the reasoning behind the time interval from injury to death, it appears that this estimation was made on the basis of the injuries seen in the brain and the right lung rather than any particular histopathological examination or further scientific examination analysis,” Dr Kalebi explained.

But the pathologist explained from the reports of autopsies done in Kenya and Pakistan, there is no evidence of torture.

“The report has not documented any evidence of other injuries that would be consistent with torture, nor does it indicate that the deceased was tortured before death,” explained Dr Kalebi.

In Kenya, the post-mortem examination was conducted by Chief Pathologist Dr Johansen Oduor while in Pakistan it was conducted by a team of eight led by Prof S H Waqar, a surgeon and Head of the Department of General Surgery at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.