Muhyiddin Denies LTTE Detainees Tortured

1205
- Advertisement - [resads_adspot id="2"]

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has denied allegations that those held on suspicion of having ties to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were tortured and intimidated during their detention.

He said based on the information given to him by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador and officers involved with the case, the detainees were not abused.

According to Muhyiddin, the detainees also did not make any formal complaints in the court room in the presence of a judge.

“I can’t accept the accusation as it is without proper investigation. If they (detainees) were abused, they can lodge a police report.

“This is a huge accusation which requires investigations to be conducted and I will not take it lightly.

TMI

“I’ve asked the IGP to make a thorough investigation. I am responsible but don’t simply take the words of one or two people who make assumption,” he told a press conference at Dewan Jubli Intan today.

However, he said the ministry will still investigate the matter as the allegations were serious.

Yesterday, five out of 12 suspects who were charged with supporting the now-defunct terrorist group LTTE have complained of mistreatment, torture or intimidation during their detention.

The two accused persons were grocery shop owner B Subramaniam, 57, and scrap metal dealer A Kalaimughilan, 28.

Kow Gah Chie/Malaysiakini

Subramaniam’s lawyer, S Selvam said his client complained of being tortured during his arrest and subsequent 21 days in detention where he was also allegedly forced to say “I am an LTTE member”.

“He faced all sort of threats, including a threat that he would be sent prison for life if he didn’t do this (what asked by the police),” said Selvam.

Subramaniam’s son S Ravindran and daughter-in-law R Thiviya alleged that the police threatened that he should confess to his involvement with LTTE or else the police would not release all his five sons and his wife.

“They are manipulating him (into thinking) that the entire family is (being charged as) a terrorist family.

“He was inside, and he had been mentally tortured. You imagine that one person was arrested and doesn’t know where he is, and the room was dark,” Thiviya said.

Ravindran said his father was “given the offer” of serving only two years in prison unlike the others who will be put in jail for 15 years.

“(They tried to) forced him to sign the (confession) form, but he didn’t,” he said.

Lawyer MV Yoges, who acted for Kalaimughilan, said her client was kept in a separate dark cell where he couldn’t communicate with others.

The cell did not comply with lock-up regulations under which the detainee was not provided with a bed and pillow while the toilet was clogged and full of mosquitoes, rats and cockroaches, according to her.

“My client had an accident back in April and got eight stitches at his head. He suffered back pain and he could not stand nor sit for long,” added Yoges.

She said the court should examine the statement of her client and record the statement.

“Basically, they are punished before they were proven guilty, they were treated like terrorists,” she said.

Kow Gah Chie/Malaysiakini

Yoges’ colleague Raja Sekaran added the police appeared to be attempting to break their spirits and get his client to confess and plead guilty by torturing them physically.

“Some of them were told they will get lesser charges if they plead guilty,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yoges who represented three others who were charged in another court presided by judge Azman Amad, applied to the court to take the statements of her clients.

They are teacher R Sundram, 52, security guard M Pumugan, 26 and storekeeper S Thanagaraj, 26.

Yoges told the court that her clients were aggrieved by the bad conditions of Sungai Buloh Prison, and they were kept in dark cells and not provided with a bed and pillow.

Azman, however, ruled that the lawyers should raise the matter during the mention date on Dec 23.

Twelve men, including two DAP assemblymen, are being detained under Sosma and were charged on October 29 and 31 with multiple offences related to LTTE.

The LTTE was militarily defeated in 2009 and is now considered defunct.

The charges against the 12 are under 130JB(1)(a) of the Penal Code which deals with alleged support for a terrorist group and possessing items linked to the group.

The men face a maximum of 30 years’ jail or life imprisonment if convicted.

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin has vouched for ally DAP, saying the party should not be attacked over the arrest and charging of two of its assemblymen for alleged links to the LTTE.

Muhyiddin said the allegations were only against the individuals arrested and should not tarnish the whole party.

“There is no link to DAP. It so happens those two individuals are under suspicion of having committed offences. It is not right to accuse the whole party. Just leave those individuals concerned to the law and the police.

“This has already been made clear to the Pakatan Harapan leadership, so don’t misunderstand,” Muhyiddin told reporters today.

His remarks follow a statement by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng last night that the party was “deeply unhappy” with the arrests of two of its assemblymen and three other party members.

Ahmad Zamzahuri

The two assemblymen are Gadek’s G Saminathan and Seremban Jaya’s P Gunasekaran.

Lim said the arrests were made on “unsubstantiated grounds” and also questioned why other politicians from the opposition, who had supported the LTTE while they were in power under the previous government, had not been arrested.

Lim also said DAP was against the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 on those arrested and charged, as the act was draconian in allowing 28 days of detention without trial.

Yesterday, human rights watchdog Suaram urged Muhyiddin to resign if he was incapable of stopping abuses of those in custody.

Referring to claims by family members of detainees who alleged torture and forced confession, Suaram’s executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the authorities were applying the same techniques despite having a new government in place.

The government was voted in by the people who wanted to right past wrongs, including reforms to the criminal justice system.

FMT

Suaram is prepared to gather the masses on the streets if Pakatan Harapan fails to fulfil its promises,” said Sevan in a statement.

Meanwhile, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Putrajaya to keep their promise of repealing Sosma, which contained ambiguous definitions of “security offences” which violated international human rights standards.

“Sosma also allows for ‘protected witnesses’, whose identity is concealed from the accused and their counsel, to give evidence.

“This violation of international fair trial standards makes it difficult for the accused to challenge the credibility of witnesses and mount an adequate defence of the charges,” said HRW in a statement.