Sosma Detainees Complain Of Torture And Intimidation




Five out of 12 suspects who were charged with supporting the now-defunct terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have complained of mistreatment, torture or intimidation during their detention
This prompted Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court judge Azura Alwi to record statements from two accused persons in camera today, whereby the media were not allowed to cover the court proceedings
In camera means that only the judge, lawyers and witnesses are present during the testimony
The two accused person who will be recounting their experiences before Azura were grocery shop owner B Subramaniam, 57, and scrap metal dealer A Kalaimughilan, 28. 
This is being done under Section 131 of the Criminal Procedure Code after Friday prayers
Lawyer S Selvam, who applied for the court to hear the statement of his client Subramaniam told Malaysiakini that his client complained of being tortured
"During the arrest and subsequent (detention in) 21 days, he was tortured and forced to say 'I am an LTTE member'," he said
"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
"When we saw him for the first time five days after his arrest on Oct 10, he was in tears. He said they really threatened him, saying all his five sons and his wife were caught and they were in jail," said Thiviya
"They said, 'If you don't admit then we will charge them according to what we charge you'," she added
"They are manipulating him (into thinking) that the entire family is (being charged as) a terrorist family," she added
"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," she 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
Meanwhile, lawyer MV Yoges (photo, below right), 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
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 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
Police had detained 12 men including two DAP state assemblypersons under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 over their alleged link with the LTTE
They were slapped with multiple charges under Section 130 of Penal Code on Oct 29 and Oct 31. Determining whether police committed offenceIn the three-hour in camera proceeding today, the judge set Nov 8 to decide whether it was necessary for her to instruct the Magistrates' Court to examine the way the police had probed Subramaniam and Kalaimughilan
"We were saying there was an offence during the investigation. But she needs to see whether there is an offence, so she had an informal hearing (just now) to see if there is an offence," Yoges told Malaysiakini
"She set Nov 8 to decide if there was an offence (committed by the police) . If there was an offence, then she will call for an examination (by the Magistrate's Court)," she added
An examination can be conducted under Section 133 of the Criminal Procedure Code when the magistrate takes cognisance of an offence of a complaint
According to her, Kalaimughilan complained that he had been ill-treated and coerced by the police into giving a statement when he was not in the right frame of mind, particularly when he had enough of the poor conditions in prison
"Right after he was charged yesterday, the police still recorded a statement from him. This is wrong," she said
Meanwhile, Selvam said his client Subramaniam was induced, compelled and forced to give a statement prepared by the police
"Towards the end, the police were so frustrated with him that they threw the paper on his face (sic)," he said.  - Mkini

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