BREAKING NEWS FROM MALAYSIA

Simon Peter stepdance at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed May 10 21:24:31 CDT 2000


Posted by Mike Chinoy on May 10, 2000 at 09:15:49:

Monday, May 10, 2000

Detainees forced to masturbate, says witness
Ajinder Kaur

7pm, WED: Detainees were forced to rub soap on their genitals and masturbate
each other at the Kemayan illegal immigrants
detention camp, a defence witness in the trial of Tenaganita director Irene
Fernandez told the court today.

"The police forced the Burmese to come out to the field, rub soap on their
private parts and ordered them to masturbate one
another," Moron Mozumder said in reply to a question by defence counsel M.
Puravalen.

He said he saw the incident from the first floor of the block he was
detained in.

"The police beat up the detainees who refused to masturbate," Mozumder said.

The 44-year-old Bangladeshi, who was speaking through interpreter M.A.
Ferdous, vomited and cried while recounting his
experience during his 21-month detention in Kemayan.

Fernandez is being charged with "maliciously publishing false news" after
she released a memorandum about tortures and deaths
in the illegal immigrants detention camps at a press conference in August
1995.

The women rights activist and KeADILan supreme council member faces three
years in prison if convicted. She is currently out
on bail.

The trial, which began in June 1996, has become the longest trial in the
country's legal history, running into its 227th day today.

In a drama-filled testimony, the court was abruptly adjourned twice when
Mozumder rushed to the washroom to throw up
while relating the conditions of the toilet facilities in the camp where he
was held six years ago.

"The toilet was scattered with faeces all over, both fresh and old faeces,
and the walls had fingermarks of excrements," he said.

"I had to squat with a cloth to block my nose and mouth. My bare feet were
soiled with wet and dry faeces," he added, before
rushing to the washroom and subsequently forcing magistrate Juliana Mohamed
to adjourn the hearing.

When the court resumed later, Mozumder said that he and other inmates were
forced to scoop faeces with their bare hands as
part of a punishment by the police guards.

"In one occasion, we were asked by the police to clean up the faeces in the
toilets with our bare hands. I had to scoop the
faeces. The smell was unbearable. Some of us vomited. I washed my hands
after that but the smell remained because there was
no soap," he said, before rushing to the washroom to throw up again.

Earlier, he said that there were five toilets for the 365 ground-floor
inmates of the building block he was detained in.

"We could only use two of the five toilets, but only one had a flush. Two
other toilets had no doors and one had stagnant water
in the bowl," he said.

"We could not use the toilets from 9pm to 6am. They gave us a bucket (1-foot
diameter by 3-feet high) for all the 365 of us to
urinate into after hours. The bucket would overflow with urine by 11pm and
my body would be splashed with urine because the
bucket was placed next to me," Mozumder added.

He also said that he was only allowed to take a shower four times a week.

"I was given a plastic bottle to scoop water from the tank. There were 12 to
13 of us taking shower at any one time and were
only given two minutes to bathe."

"There was no towel and no soap. I wore my underwear during the shower and
later switch to my pants, and used my
underwear to dry my body," he added.

He also told the court that he experienced physical torture, humiliation and
repeated beatings during his detention in the camp.

The courtroom became tense with emotion when Mozumder told the magistrate
that his head was shaved upon admission to
the camp.

Puravalen: Your head was shaved completely bald?

Mozumder: Completely bald.

Puravalen: What was your reaction?

(Mozumder broke down into tears at this point.)

Mozumder: I am a Hindu. In my religion, we shave our heads when our parents
pass away. I felt I was motherless. Orphaned.

Mozumder also told the court that he witnessed several incidences of
corruption among the police guards in the detention
camp.

"One day, one of the inmates gave the police RM50 to buy food. The police
bought food for RM30 and kept the balance of
RM20. The inmate was beaten up when he asked for the balance of the money,"
he recounted.

He added that this practice occurred repeatedly during his detention in the
camp.

Mozumber is scheduled to continue his testimony when the trial resumes
tomorrow morning.
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