Malaysiakini Letter

Hold an RCI into prison ‘brutalities and abuses’

P Uthayakumar, Hindraf-Human Rights Party Malaysia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

With reference to the latest reported beating-up of M Chandran (The Sun, Feb 13, 2017) at the Jawi Prison rendering him unconscious and warranting admission into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and the The Star Online quoting South Seberang Prai police chief Supt Shafee Abdul Samad as saying he “had fallen in the toilet, injuring his head, while his “missing” toenails were because they were removed in the prison clinic due to a skin disease”.

What more saying that he was a psychiatric patient.. what, within three weeks of imprisonment?

I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg of yet another attempted cover-up by the combo of prison, hospital and police authorities. As a ‘no frills prisoner’ for two years on sedition charges at Kajang Prison, I can vouch that with the standard prison toilet design of only about two feet wide with a four feet high and eight feet long cement slab for privacy, it is almost impossible for prisoners to fall.

Furthermore prison clinics are too poorly equipped to remove toenails (a very painful procedure) and such cases are usually sent to the nearest hospitals.

Despite being a senior lawyer and human rights activist, I could only helplessly witness prisoners being beaten up, tortured and inflicted with cruel,inhumane and degrading treatment on a day to day basis. I have also seen prisoners “dying before my very eyes” for non-terminal diseases. In prisons, wardens and officers seemingly take full advantage of the prisoners’ most vulnerable position.

From behind the prison walls I have written numerous letters to your goodselves, complained to the visiting Suhakam commissioner, etc and for this my “prison activism”, prison authorities allegedly got a fellow prisoner to finish me off. But being a Hindraf supporter he tipped me off, fearing that they may get someone else to do the job.

Like Chandran, this prisoner was then imprisoned at the mental prisoners block. Despite my wife lodging a police report, zero action was taken.

Upon my release I filed a public interest case praying for amongst others a royal commission of inquiry. Despite the seriousness of this matter, the learned attorney-general deemed it fit to raise preliminary objections and the High Court and Court of Appeal dismissed my application on mere technicalities without hearing and/or deciding on the merits of my case.

The outcome of my appeal at the Federal Court on March 2, 2017 may be predictable. But I do not want to give the prison authorities a walkover.

So please help us, Mr Prime Minister. Only an independent royal commission of inquiry can undo these very serious day to day injustices

With regard to the reported murder of S Balamurugan at the North Klang police station especially in direct defiance of the Magistrate’s Court Order where the victim was not taken to hospital, unless and until the inspector-general of police and the learned attorney-general arrest and prosecute the 10 policemen under probe (Bernama, Feb 10, 2017), these ‘police crimes’ will continue with impunity.

Similarly, police allegedly shooting dead mere suspects with impunity.

In all of the above we cannot help but point out that almost all of these victims are also disproportionately the Indian poor.

“Indian poor lives matter.”

P UTHAYAKUMAR is secretary-general pro-tem of the Hindraf-Human Rights Party Malaysia.

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