Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Torture - 'I have to check' Nur Jazlan must end torture by police and push for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)?

In Malaysia, torture of detainees by the police is not permissible in law. But sadly, it does happen and the number of incidences of death in police custody supports this belief.

231 cases of death in custody from 2000 until May 2013 - 97 Malays, 49 Chinese, 51 Indians.
 ‘…Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today revealed that 108 deaths occurred during police custody between 2000 and 2006…’ – Malaysiakini, 23/4/2007 - About 3,000 deaths in custody in Malaysia in the last 20 years...Deaths in police custody have been on the rise

Recently, SUARAM, a Malaysian Human Rights group highlighted several casses of alleged police torture of persons arrested under the  Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA) [See the Malaysiakini report on 18/1/2016 below]

While SUARAM highlighted just SOSMA cases, the reality is that torture also do happens in many other criminal cases not just SOSMA cases.

When a person has been tortured by the police after being arrested, he/she has the opportunity of informing the Magistrate when he/she is brought for remand applications - an application by the police to hold the detainee for more time for them to complete the investigation. But, sadly most of such suspects at this stage will be afraid to say anything for fear they may suffer even more when they are taken back by the police. The absence of a lawyer representing them at this stage also does not help.

Well, what about making a police report? Well, the problem there again is that when it comes to finding witnesses - there may be none. Malaysian police seems inclined to support their fellow police officers. An example of this support, could be seen in the recent findings of Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) about the torture and killing of  Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed Nur (seePolice officers that tortured and killed detainee - what will the AG and the Malaysian government do? ) In this case, they also seem to have assisted in getting rid of the evidence..

“There was an element of crime in the attacks involving common intent or abetment by PDRM officers, including the arresting team, to intentionally use physical violence on the deceased to cause death or injury,” the EAIC said in a statement today.
...its investigations also found attempts to obscure evidence from the 25-year-old’s interrogation that resulted in 61 separate injuries on various parts of his body...

Now, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan claims all allegations of torture will be investigated if the complaints are made through 'PROPER CHANNELS'. Prime Minister Najib also uses this kind of language - 'proper channels'. But they do not then tell us what these proper channels are, do they?

The police is certainly not the 'proper channel' in such cases - and when we, Malaysians, asked for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) - the government said 'No" and gave us the EAIC instead. But as we see, even after the EAIC investigates suggest that the police officers be charged maybe for murder > nothing seem to have happened. Look at the Syed Mohd Azlan's case - police saw nothing wrong but EAIC did after a detailed inquiry - but after that...AG and police seem to have not moved on it yet....or have they?

Well, we have now the Malaysian Human Rights Commission(SUHAKAM), whereby the current Chairman and Commissioners have been bravely doing their jobs. But alas, their term ends this year - and we wonder what kind of Chairman and HR Commissioners we will have in the future. In any event, PM Najib has drastically slashed the SUHAKAM budget for 2016. 45% slash of Human Rights Commission budget indicate importance of Human Rights and Justice in Malaysia?

Worse, there seems to be a retaliation by the police themselves against those who highlight allegation of police wrongdoing. Remember the mother who highlighted the allegation that the police hit her child - well, the police went after her with SEDITION???...not go meet her get more details and investigate her allegations.  Brave mother who highlighted police wrongdoings not praised but persecuted?

So, Nur Jazlan Mohamed, what is the 'proper channel' in Malaysia? TELL US...

Confessions was always questionable as it could have resulted by reason of torture in police custody, and Malaysia did a GOOD thing in 2006.

Malaysia amended the Criminal Procedure Code in 2006, no more allowing the prosecution the ability to use confessions(or statements) made to the police. That should have ended the need to torture suspects - but apparently, it did not. Why?

"Admission of statements in evidence

113. (1) Except as provided in this section, no statement made by any person to a police officer in the course of a police investigation made under this Chapter shall be used in evidence....

(3) Where the accused had made a statement during the course of a police investigation such statement may be admitted in evidence in support of his defence during the course of the trial.

However, there was still a way for the prosecution to use statements of the accused ... for example section 113(4)...
(4) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to apply to any statement made in the course of an identification parade or falling within section 27 or paragraphs 32(1)(a), (i) and (j) of the Evidence Act 1950.
Let's see what section 27 of the Evidence Act is all about...

(1) When any fact is deposed to as discovered in consequence of information received from a person accused of any offence in the custody of a police officer, so much of that information, whether the information amounts to a confession or not, as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered may be proved.
Hence, there was a GAP - a way in which statements of the accused, could still be used...It is a gap, I believe need to immediately be closed. This may help end torture...

Many would have wondered, why an accused person who pleads 'Not Guilty' - tells the police(or leads the police to) where the killing happened, or tells the police where to find evidence? Was it simple repentance and a desire to come clean?

It makes no sense, does it not? Unless, there was TORTURE...or unless there was THREATS ...or unless there was some PROMISE. 

Reasonably, no suspect who claims to be innocent will logically talk to the police telling them where all the evidences are ...who and where witnesses are who can help prosecution prove his/her guilt ... UNLESS the was torture or ....?

So, maybe to end torture, this GAP must also be closed. Malaysian police must start to do proper investigations - not try to 'force' it out of suspects in their custody..

Malaysia should also stop going after people who highlight alleged wrongdoings...encourage people to highlight wrongs and incidences of 'torture'. We want to end torture in Malaysia - especially by the police and other enforcement public officers.  

The police comes under the Home Minister - but when he himself is not certain...it is disturbing..

I have to check, but the accused has a right to inform someone of his detention and can make a formal complaint if the interrogation does not follow the standard operating procedures.

Report detainee abuse to Home Ministry, says Nur Jazlan

Deputy home minister Datuk Nur Jazlan says his ministry will investigate any detainee abuse complaints made to it through formal channels. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 24, 2016.Deputy home minister Datuk Nur Jazlan says his ministry will investigate any detainee abuse complaints made to it through formal channels. – The Malaysian Insider pic, January 24, 2016.The Home Ministry will probe any detainee abuse case if complaints are made through formal channels, deputy home minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said following the disclosure by human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) of alleged mistreatment of detainees.

“I have to check, but the accused has a right to inform someone of his detention and can make a formal complaint if the interrogation does not follow the standard operating procedures.

"The SOP used by the interrogators must be reasonable and take into account the human rights of the person. The ministry will investigate any complaints made to it through formal channels,”
he said in a WhatsApp message to The Malaysian Insider.

Nur Jazlan was responding to a recent report by MalaysiaKini on letters penned by seven detainees held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), who alleged mistreatment during their detention. The letters were disclosed by Suaram at a press conference last week.

According to the report, many of the detainees said they were beaten and threatened, with one claiming he was forced to strip, crawl like a dog, kiss an investigating officer’s foot and do other degrading acts.

Some of the detainees also claimed that police threatened to harm their family members, forcing them to follow statements provided by police.

Suaram’s executive director Sevan Doraisamy (pic, right) said the group filed a second complaint to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) last Friday and would be meeting with lawyers and detainees' families to discuss the next course of action.

The first complaint was made last month.
“We are having a meeting with some of the detainees' families and we are also planning to file complaints with EAIC (Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission) and Bukit Aman,” he said, adding that he was informed that Suhakam had visited some of the detainees.
“They (Suhakam) have already collected some information and names but it is yet to be revealed, pending a final conclusion.”
Some of the detainees' families had lodged police reports on the allegations. – January 24, 2016.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/report-detainee-abuse-to-home-ministry-says-nur-jazlan#sthash.6UIwUmJK.dpuf

Sosma detainees allege torture, sexual humiliation in custody

Koh Jun Lin     Published     Updated     
An NGO has released letters purportedly written by detainees held under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), who have alleged torture during their detention.

Among others, one detainee claimed that he was forced to kiss the foot of his investigating officer, forced to masturbate while they watched, forced to watch pornographic videos with the officers, and forced to make a pronouncement of divorce upon his wife (lafaz taklid cerai).

This is in addition to beatings and other degrading acts he suffered, he said.

The investigating officer also threatened to separate my baby from my wife, and banish my wife from Malaysia and to be forced into prostitution in Cambodia,” added the detainee, who is identified only as OKT 3.

Suaram coordinator Amir Abd Hadi claimed that OKT 3's wife has also complained of sexual harassment from an investigating officer.

Suaram said it has letters from seven detainees in total, which the detainees have passed to Suaram's lawyers.

The letters detail the threats and torture the detainees allegedly faced in the early phases of a Sosma case, where police can detain suspects for up to 28 days for investigation before they are brought to court.

However, the group is only releasing six of the letters today, as one of them has now become a matter pending in court.

The six handwritten letters were partially redacted and are 19 pages in total.

Copies of the letters were distributed to members of the media during Suaram's press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

Suaram lawyer Farida Mohammad said all seven detainees have since been charged in court, and are now awaiting trial at Sungai Buloh Prison.

To a question, Amir said Suaram has lodged a complaint to the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) several weeks ago, which in turn had made visits to the detainees.

Following the visits, the next of kin of the detainees have also lodged police reports regarding the allegations of torture.

“For three of the detainees, the police have already recorded their statements regarding the police reports, but since then there has been no progress.

“For one detainee who was quite severely tortured, a police report was made but the police have yet to come and record his statement,” Farida added.

The group will be making another complaint to Suhakam on Friday afternoon.

Not out to undermine government's effort

Meanwhile, another lawyer Wong Kar Fai stressed that Suaram is not out to undermine the government's anti-terrorism efforts.

However, he said the use of torture, as well as Sosma's "lopsided" trial procedures, must end.

“In combating terrorism, you have to look to other factors. This is time-tested – any trials in the court […] must be fair. You must understand that these detainees have since been charged, but not yet proven (guilty).

“These cases that have been reported have not been brought to court for trial even for one day. So, you cannot treat someone who has been accused as a terrorist suspect as somebody who has already done it,” he said.

He added that the police should focus their efforts on counter-intelligence and investigation, rather than resorting to torture.

Meanwhile, Suaram director Sevan Doraisamy condemned today the alleged torture and called for Suhakam and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) to investigate.

He also urged Malaysia to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the allegations, and called for the abolition of several laws that he claims have given room for torture to take place.

“Suaram believes that the use of torture can only take place if there is no judicial oversight and transparent investigation procedures," he said in a statement.

“To stop torture, laws such as Sosma, Prevention of Crime Act 1959, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Dangerous Drugs (Special Prevention Measures) Act 1985, that give room for torture to take place must be abolished,” he said.
Each of the four laws allows lengthy detentions without trial.

Sevan also urged the government to sign the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to prove that it does not condone any violence that is against basic human rights.

Some other details in the six letters include, among others:

OKT 1:

Allegedly beaten and kicked after being handcuffed and arrested in public despite not resisting arrest; beaten again while being taken to Bukit Aman police headquarters, after arriving there, and while detained at a police remand centre.

He also alleged to have been beaten in the head and abdomen several times by a large group of investigating officers when he refused to admit to acts that he did not commit, in a dimmed room at the police remand centre. This resulted in pain for several days.

OKT 2:

Slapped and punched at a police station before being brought to the Sentul police remand centre.

There, he was forced to make a painful 'half-stand' while his statement was being recorded, and he would be scolded and threatened with more beatings if he tried to adjust his stance, and he was beaten when his statements did not match the investigating officers' theory of what transpired.

He also alleged that he was forced to kiss other detainees while the officers laughed at them.

OKT 3:
Forced to strip, crawl around "like a dog", and pick up a piece of rubber thrown on a dirty floor with his mouth.

His head was repeatedly stomped upon, and his head had been slapped and smacked with a foot. He was also allegedly forced to kiss an investigating officer's foot, masturbate while they watched, and watch pornographic videos on the police's officer's handphone.

In addition, he claimed that he had been forced to make a pronouncement of divorce upon his wife, and threatened to harm his infant child and his wife.

OKT 4:
Was beaten, and smacked in the head, as well as being forced to make statements that he wasn't sure of.
He was purportedly told that no lawyer is willing to take up his case when he asked for legal representation.

OKT 5:
(Not for publication)

OKT 6:
Could not bear being separated from her husband and three children, whom were all arrested with her while they were about to go on vacation in Istanbul, Turkey.

She claimed that as a result, she lost her appetite, could not sleep, and was constantly crying while in custody, while Special Branch officers shouted at her and slammed the table, and refused to believe her that they were merely going on holiday.

She said after eight or nine days of being under pressure, she eventually decided to agree with whatever the Special Branch officers want in hopes of seeing her family again, not realising at the time that this could land her in jail.

OKT 7:
Was beaten, threatened to be shot in the head, and threatened with more severe beatings if he told anyone about the beatings.

He claimed that the police also threatened to arrest his pregnant wife and the rest of his family, close his company, and confiscate his house, and was forced to follow the police's version of events in his statements. - Malaysiakini, 18/1/2016

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