Several former Operasi Lalang detainees last night shared the horrors they endured while in detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA), some of which included beatings and mental torture.
Recounting her experience, Women's Aid Organisation member Irene Xavier wasted no time in confirming that women, too, were indeed beaten during the detention.
"They did beat me, and when they beat me, there was no woman police escort.
"The reason they beat me was because they claimed I was lying, that they found the truth from other detainees. On that premise, the investigating officer got angry and beat me," Irene said to shocked faces of some 150 people present during the forum held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.
The forum, titled "My Side of Story" was part of commemoration activities for the 30th anniversary of much-criticised Operasi Lalang.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has been slammed for the ISA detentions carried out in October 1987, did not make an appearance despite being invited to the forum.
Irene (photo) said her experience was very "demeaning" and one that she believed was aimed to confuse detainees to make them psychologically dependent on the interrogators.
Describing some of the interrogation tactics, she said she was repeatedly asked names of people she remotely knew.
"When they keep asking you, your memory comes back. Why I met them, what I said to them, all of those things became very fresh in my mind.
"During interrogation, I tried very hard to forget names, which I didn't succeed during the (initial) 60 days (of detention).
"After that until now, I have a problem with names of people. For no reason, I forget names; I attribute this to the interrogation techniques," Irene said...