Saturday, March 7, 2009

Outdoing Abu Gharib

He was tortured continuously for six days, starved, beaten and branded like a cow. We do not treat even animals this way where pain is inflicted purely for the pleasure of it. How could this be carried out in the premises of the police itself?


Khalid Samad
The Malaysian Insider

The second autopsy report carried out on the body of A. Kugan was released on Thursday. It confirms without a shadow of a doubt that he was tortured and died as a result of this torture. The torture sustained by him was mind-boggling and only a sick mind can even begin to understand the reasons why it was done. How anyone can do something as terrible as this to another human being is beyond comprehension.

He was tortured continuously for six days, starved, beaten and branded like a cow. We do not treat even animals this way where pain is inflicted purely for the pleasure of it. How could this be carried out in the premises of the police itself? How could it happen without the knowledge of the other police personnel, especially the officers and the OCPD themselves? Are prisoners or detainees handed over to the interrogators and no supervision is undertaken whatsoever?

I was really upset on reading the report. We can only imagine the pain which Kugan suffered. The way the incident was handled seems to indicate that it is not necessarily an exception to the rule. There may have been other similar cases, and had it not been for the tenacity of Kugan’s family insisting on a second autopsy, this case would have been closed. How many similar cases have gone by unnoticed is anyone’s guess.

The first autopsy report was misleading to say the least. It is quite obvious that the doctor had no personal interest in this case and as such had no reason to hide the facts. Either he was completely incompetent, which is unlikely, or very slip-shod in undertaking his duties. This is also unlikely. The only other possibility is that he was instructed to provide the kind of report which he did. I believe the majority of people following this case are convinced that this is the case.

Similar is the case with the 11 police personnel involved in the incident. I do not believe that they would have done this, in the premises of the police station itself, if they did not believe that they could get away with this. In fact, I cannot conceive of a situation where they would be willing to do this without the consent or instruction from their leaders. The level of torture was such that there was no way for it to be hidden or concealed. It can therefore be safely deduced that the they were not planning to hide anything from their superiors nor did they think they had anything to hide.

This situation is obviously very worrying. The fact that their actions are condoned by the system which also provides for a cover up necessitates the revamping of the police system as a whole. This should start by the resignation of the Inspector-General of Police. It is unacceptable that the IGP can carry on with his job knowing full well that he has completely failed in the carrying out of his duties by ensuring high standards of justice and fair treatment of those detained by his personnel. The “lackadaisical” attitude shown by the IGP when shown the findings of the second autopsy is a clear indication that this is something which is not new.

For the institution of the police to be cleaned up, it requires leaders who have the vision and the desire to see it cleaned. This is obviously not something which the current IGP and the current administration can do. We are, as always, left with the conclusion that the longer this administration stays, the worse will it be for the nation as a whole.

Khalid Samad is MP for Shah Alam. He is also Head of Shah Alam PAS Division and also member of the PAS political bureau which is the most powerful bureau in the party. His website is www.khalidsamad.com

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