Penderaan ketika dalam tahanan ISA
Activists lobbying against the Internal Security Act (ISA) have claimed that fresh allegations of harrowing torture suffered by detainees mirror complaints over the past decade at least.
Gerakan Anti-ISA (GMI) chief Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said former ISA detainees have recounted many forms of torture, including threats of sexual abuse.
“Some (claimed) they were held down (naked) against their will, and threatened with sodomy. It has happened before. These interrogation and torture methods are not new,” he said when contacted for comment on the notes said to have been smuggled out of the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.
Echoing him, human rights lawyer Edmund Bon said the ex-detainees he has worked with, have complained about similar forms of toture.
They include Reformasi detainees and those linked to Jemaah Islamiah, who were held in 2001.
“But the claim that the detainee was hung upside down from a machine is new, I’ve not heard that before,” said Bon (left).
The notes state that a detainee was stripped down to his underwear and hung upside down from a machine which moved around the room, and that he was hit with “blunt objects” whenever the machine stopped.
Bon said detainees in 2004 had also managed to smuggle out notes detailing their experiences, and much of this was extensively documented in a report on the ISA by international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“They even drew us an aerial view of the camp…I don’t think they would make up these things,” he said.
The details can be found in a chapter entitled ‘Torture and other physical abuse’ in HRW’s 2004 report.
The HRW report, which is based on interviews with, and affidavits from, ex-detainees and their families, state that the detainees:
- Had their beards burnt with cigarettes
- Had lit cigarettes pushed into their skin and neck
- Were forced to masturbate or urinate in front of interrogators
- Were made to put their face in a dustbin while repeatedly saying “I am stupid”
‘On Najib’s watch’
While the claims of torture, or the methods, are not new to Syed Ibrahim, he said the fresh allegations are significant as these are most likely to have taken place after premier Najib Abdul Razak took office in 2009.
“The detainees have been there for more than a year, meaning that their initial remand period was in 2009, when (Najib) was speaking about change and reviewing the ISA,” he explained.
“The incidents of (alleged) torture don’t reflect change, or perhaps there are different interpretations of change between the government and police.”
Police have denied the new allegations of torture, saying that these are “baseless”, “malicious” and an attempt by detainees to gain publicity and sympathy so they will be released early.
The Human Rights Commission has said it will investigate the claims.
The remaining 45 ISA detainees will have to serve out their detention orders, even after the ISA is repealed once the new Security Offences (Security Measures) Bill 2012 is gazetted.