22 October 2014

Uthayakumar imbas igauan di penjara Kajang...

Uthayakumar - Let me be the last jailed for sedition

P Uthayakumar memegang hujung berus gigi usang di jari telunjuk beliau dan menunjukkan bagaimana beliau memberus gigi di penjara.

Berus gigi itu sudah bertukar warna kepada perang, kotor dengan berusnya hampir tiada.

"Ia dikongsi oleh hampir lima banduan dalam satu penjara - biasanya lebih dari itu.

“Bila saya minta kepada warden, mereka kata tiada bajet untuk membeli berus gigi," kata Uthayakumar, yang mahu memberitahu segalanya mengenai pengalaman ketika menjadi banduan di Penjara Kajang.

Uthayakumar pernah mengalami pengalaman menjadi tahanan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri sebelum ini bersedia untuk pengalaman hampir sama ketika dijatuhkan hukuman di bawah Akta Hasutan.

Pengalaman tersebut menyedarkan beliau yang perkara sama tidak wajar dilalui oleh seteru politiknya sekalipun.

Sewaktu di penjara, Uthaya menulis beberapa surat dan diseludup melalui isteri dan peguamnya - untuk mengadu tentang keadaan penjara.

Beliau antaranya mendakwa warden penjara membenarkan tahanan muda yang dilantik sebagai 'jurulatih' untuk membuli tahanan lain.

Tahanan muda tersebut kemudiannya akan membalas 'keistimewaan' itu dengan mengurut warden-warden penjara secara percuma.

Pemimpin Hindraf ini dijatuhi hukuman penjara selama 30 bulan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur pada 5 Jun 2013.

Beliau didapati bersalah menuduh Putrajaya melakukan pembersihan etnik terhadap warganegara berketurunan India.

Pada 17 September tahun lalu, Mahkamah Rayuan mengekalkan keputusan hakim namun mengurangkan hukuman dari 30 bulan kepada 24 bulan.

Menurut Uthayakumar, beliau menghabiskan banyak masa di dalam penjara semata-mata untuk kekal waras.

Semangat aktivisme yang dibawanya bersama ke dalam penjara membantu beliau berbuat demikian.

Bezanya kata Uthayakumar, di dalam penjara, perjuangannya adalah untuk semua orang dan bukan orang India semata-mata.

"Dalam penjara, semua orang dilayan sama rata - sama rata buruknya.

"Dalam penjara ini memang ada semangat 1Malaysia. Ada kesamarataan untuk semua - dalam menerima layanan yang teruk," kata aktivis itu sewaktu diwawancara oleh Malaysiakini.

Perkara yang paling ditakuti oleh tahanan dalam penjara, kata Uthaya bukanlah herdik dan maki hamun oleh warden penjara atau kekasaran fizikal.

Mereka paling risau seandainya mereka jatuh sakit.- mk

Uthayakumar - 5 inmates share a toothbrush
Uthaya recounts horrors of a Malaysian prison...

P Uthayakumar showed what is an end of a much worn toothbrush on his index finger and demonstrated how to brush his teeth. It was brown, soiled, and the bristles were almost gone.

“This is shared by almost five of the prisoners in a cell - usually there are more. When I asked the wardens, they said it is because there is no budget for toothbrushes,” said Uthayakumar, who is bent on telling all about his imprisonment in Kajang prison.

Uthayakumar was sentenced to prison for sedition, but little was he prepared for what was to come.

He had served time under the now defunct Internal Security Act and thought it might be similar.

Now, after surviving his term in Kajang prison, he said it is something he would not even wish upon his worst enemy.

While in prison itself, Uthayakumar had written many complaints of his prison conditions in smuggled letters through his wife and lawyers.

The Hindraf leader was sentenced to 30 months’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 5, 2013, after accusing Putrajaya of genocide against ethnic Indians.

The Court of Appeal on Sept 17 upheld Uthayakumar’s sentence but commuted the punishment from 30 months to 24 months. He was released last Oct 3.

Uthayakumar, a lawyer famed for having galvanised the Hindraf movement which brought tens of thousands of Indian Malaysians to a rally in 2007 demanding for their rights, said it was all he could do to keep his sanity while in prison.

He said the one thing that he did not leave behind when he entered prison was his activism - the only difference being that he spoke up for all races in prison, not only for Indian Malaysians, as he was wont to do outside.

“In prison, all are treated equally - equally badly. There’s really 1Malaysia in prison. There is equality for all.

“In prison, it doesn’t matter, you get equal treatment and you get the same food,” said the activist in an interview with Malaysiakini.

He admitted that this is contrary to deaths in police custody as well as deaths by police shooting, in which he had all the while claimed victims were mostly Indian Malaysians.

He explained that even during roll calls, which was several times a day and called ‘muster’, everybody got punished equally.

“There are no special privileges for anybody. And the natural reaction is that we are all in it together.”

‘Doctor checks from six feet away’

Uthayakumar said much is needed to better the conditions of the Kajang prison for men, especially when it came to medical care.

“What I feared most while in prison was that I would fall ill.”

His eyes glistened with tears when he spoke about the predicament of a fellow inmate.

‘The inmate had hepatitis C but the prison wardens said there was nothing wrong with him. One night, I saw him sitting on his bed, with a helpless look on his face.

“The next morning, he died, and I saw a prison officer erasing his name from the white board.

“I told the prisoner next to me, with that erasing, all the records of him having died in prison, are gone,’ he said.

Uthayakumar said for every ailment, the medication is the ‘KK’ pills - plain paracetamol.

“And the doctor checks you from six feet away, without touching you,” said Uthayakumar, who said he was usually appointed the spokesperson by his fellow inmates to speak to the wardens.

He said he had to be very careful and be at his utmost politeness while choosing the least strict of the wardens to ask for sickly fellow inmates to be given medical care.

He said his fellow inmates, before he left, lamented that in his absence, no one would speak up for them now.

Uthayakumar, however, said that he survived being sardine-packed in cells by keeping a journal, which at times was checked upon. They even took away his pencils and then he was moved on from one block to another.

Despite the ordeal, he said other prisoners had it worse.

He claimed that prisoners were persecuted on a daily basis and no one could answer the wardens, who struck fear with their violence and shouts.

He said inmates were treated like “mere slaves”; being beaten up, shouted at and ill-treated.

Despite that, the inmates stuck together for fear of the wardens.

He related how he witnessed inmates of different races helping each other - a Malay helping out a Chinese, or even of a Malay inmate cleaning up a paralysed Indian inmate every time the latter answered the call of nature, to the extent of using his fingers to ease the bowels of the latter.- mk 

Saari to launch ‘manual for political prisoners’...

What is it like to be interrogated round-the-clock for a marathon 44 hours in the infamous Kamunting detention centre? And what should you do or say?

These are the questions answered in the book by PAS man and former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Saari Sungib.

In his preface, fellow ex-ISA detainee Syed Husin Ali said the book ‘Derita Penjara Tanpa Bicara: Kisah Kekejaman Akta Zalim’ (Detention Without Trial: The Ugly Side of the Draconian Law) is a “manual” on how to survive imprisonment without trial.

The author of the book, which will be launched by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim at the MBPJ Dewan Sivik on Monday, agrees.

According to Saari (right), the book is written to provide a comprehensive guide for political prisoners.

Relating his own experience as an ISA detainee, Saari, who is now second-term Hulu Kelang assemblyperson, said that in the Kamunting prison, there is every effort to break one’s spirit.

“The detainee will first experience the trauma of being a detainee. The charges will be the most illogical charges against you, the very crimes that you have never committed.

“The investigating officers will do their role play using the hard and soft approaches,” he explains.

Saari was accused of holding a secret meeting with several other activists at a secret place to topple the government.

“When I looked back at my diary, the meeting was nothing but an urging for clean and fair elections, and it was a public meeting held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall,” Saari recalls.

“The occasion was published all over the place as a forum titled, ‘Pilihanraya atau Pilih Jalanraya’ (Election or street protest). What is so secretive about it!”

‘Good cop, bad cop’

One of the tactics that the Special Branch officers often used with Saari was to say: “We arrested you in order to save you from being used by Anwar (Ibrahim).”

The investigating officers would then praise him for his achievements in organising more than 100,000 peaceful demonstrators to Jalan Kebun and the Kesas Highway.

Such peaceful assemblies were organised by the Reformasi committee led by Saari every month from December 2000 through April 2001 during the Reformasi era.

But the officers will not always be full of praise.

“One investigating officer will be brutal, shouting, screaming and even using abusive words, and in some cases, they use force or other forms of torture.

“After you are worn out, another seemingly gentlemanly investigating officer will come in, and talk good things.

“Never fall into the trap of trusting the second investigating officer. It’s all part of the tactics used worldwide, be it in Guantanamo or Kamunting.”

There are a lot of abuses of human rights in the Kamunting prison system, Saari shares.

“They will make you feel like a criminal and make things difficult for you and your family members,” he says.

“As a result, a number of people have been neutralised. Amongst those who were detained alongside with me during the early years of Reformasi, half have been turned over.”

Mental torture

Beyond interrogation, Saari also speaks of the mental torture of being cooped up in Kamunting.

“In prison, there is nothing but concrete walls and the lights are on 24 hours a day. At times it was difficult for me to know whether it was night or day.

“The worst experience is having to be incarcerated in the cell alone with no one else with you.”

When he was released, “the sky appeared much bluer and the hills and the trees looking so much greener”.

Saari was detained twice under ISA during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s era - once in 1998 and again in April 2001 when he was held for two years until June 2003.

Others incarcerated with him were Batu MP Tian Chua, PKR leader Badrulaman Bahron and activist Hishamuddin Rais activist and Badaruddin Ismail, better known as Pak Din Reformasi.

Those dark days in Kamunting have also been an endless source of material for Saari.

It was then that he painstakingly penned eight volumes under major title of ‘Suara dari Kamunting’ (Voice from Kamunting).

He later published another book ‘Sengsara Kem Kamunting’ (Suffering in Kamunting Camp) on the first year at the detention centre, while another book ‘Jejak Jejari Besi’ (Trail of Iron Bars) is in the works.

“I believe in political activism,” he says.

“I made it a point to put everything I could remember about the interrogation process in writing.

“As an activist, I made everything transparent and published the stories for all to read. There is nothing to hide.” - mk


1 comment:

Nachimani said...

Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus has cheated my PhD award.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I’m Nachimani Charde, was a PhD student of University of Nottingham UK, Malaysia campus until April 2012. Pls understand one thing that any PhD viva voce exam has to be conducted within 3 months of time according to the Quality Manual of the Nottingham University UK. In my case, initially they delayed 1 year and wrongly selected the examiners. Then later they announced that the viva voce exam was invalid. As for the second time, they delayed another 1 year and 9 months. Now they are saying that the viva is unacceptable and I have to take another viva voce exam. During this confusing situation, I have reported to Prof.Christine Ennew (number 1 of Nottingham Univ. Malaysia Campus). She did not stop the exam immediately and asked me to hold on because she was discussing this matter with Vice chancellor. Eventually the Vice chancellor asked me to complete the procedures and submit the thesis but when the exam results came out; they again say it is invalid. This is what makes me unhappy and I sent several emails to Vice Chancellor but no reply. So I bring this matter to social media and also to MOHE. I want to know why the Vice Chancellor asked me to submit my thesis and the exam out is against his decision? When I checked with external examiner who examines me, she said that she has approved the amendment and I passed the exam. Why there is conflict in this matter? I want answers for this situation from vice Chancellor, until then I will keep all my 5 web pages and 5 blog alive in internet. Actually it is Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus has different PhD procedure than the UK one. So they are not procedurally same and practicing dual standards.

The following link shows the PhD exam procedure of Nottingham University UK.

However, this link shows the PhD exam procedure of Nottingham University UK, Malaysia campus (UNMC), only for Faculty of Engineering.

Why there is double standard ? is the UNMC guide for PhD exam procedure approved by Nottingham University UK senate? The answer is no. That’s why I fighting against them now. I have published 20 journal papers and three times written my thesis but still the exam is invalid!