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Torture at Bukit Aman

The following is the account of the torture Dr Anees suffered. It is part of the affidavit submitted with the appeal of his conviction.

On 14 September 1998 at about 10.30am, a team of police officers entered my house at No. 474, Lorong 17/13A, Happy Gardens, Petaling Jaya. They did not produce any search warrant and, other than one person who stated that he was Inspector Mazlan, the rest did not identify themselves by name. Inspector Mazlan merely indicated that he was arresting me under the provisions of the Internal Security Act. I was handcuffed the police officers thereafter ransacked my entire house.

In the course of the search they collected material from everywhere. This included all my work in progress, my computer disks, other written material, personal photographs of my family and various other things, including videos and audio cassettes, faxes, books, papers, and magazines. They even opened the sealed letters, as they had intercepted the mailman while they were leaving the house. It was haphazard search and everything taken was dumped into a large cardboard box that the police officers had with them. Subsequent to the search being completed I was taken to a police station, where the police took down my personal particulars and then took my fingerprints. I saw an officer preparing an inventory of the items taken from my house and thrown into the cardboard box. A short while later I was handed over by Inspector Mazlan to two men.

I was then blindfolded and handcuffed and guided out and placed in some sort of vehicle. I had no idea where I was taken to or why. After a journey of approximately 30-40 minutes I was removed from the vehicle and taken into some sort of building, still blindfolded and handcuffed. I had no idea where I was. There my blindfold and handcuffs were removed. I was confronted by four men dressed in plainclothes who did not identify themselves. They were exceptionally rude and asked me to strip naked. I tried to resist but had no option but to accede to their request. My clothes, watch and glasses were taken away. One of them took my fingerprints. It was a long session of fingerprinting as multiple impressions were taken on some 10 or so forms or other documents. I was then weighed. All the while, my captors kept making disparaging remarks about me in a dismissive humiliating style. I was pushed against a wall and my height was taken and from then on, until my production in Court on the morning of the 19th September, they and others who took turns, systematically stripped me of all my humanity and self-respect.

I was given a dark blue loose pajama type of pants and a T-shirt to wear. I was again blindfolded and handcuffed and taken through a series of doors and up a flight of stairs. I was finally pushed through a door and when my blindfold was removed and my eyes adjusted to the light I saw that I was in a cell of approximately 8 feet square. I saw two wooden platforms, one on each side of the cell. There was no other furniture of any sort. The cell had no window and ventilation was through two thin rat holes at the bottom of one wall. There was no bedding or blankets of any sort. The room was brightly lit by an overhead light that was never switched off throughout my stay there. The glare of the light could not be avoided from any position in that small cell. There was an old vent on one wall that made a continuous horrendous grating sound. This vent did not seem to be moving any air and was also never switched off. No sound from outside came through the door. The cell was literally soundproof though at times I thought I heard the sound of coughing and heavy breathing as I was led out of the cell to various other places. Before my captors left the cell I was told, again rudely and in a dismissive style, that I had henceforth no name or identity, that I was prisoner number 26/98 and that I was only to answer to that number each and every time I was called.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, the door of the cell was slammed open and a man walked in and shouted out "26". I was slow to respond and was severely reprimanded for that. I was again blindfolded and handcuffed and then moved about ten paces or so. When my blindfold was removed I saw I was in another room. There was a photographer there. My handcuffs were removed and about 20 to 30 photographs were taken of me from various angles. I was then again blindfolded, handcuffed and returned to my cell. Throughout my stay in the cell, a small viewing hatch on the door was opened every few minutes; eyes peered in at me after which the hatch was shut.

About 10 to 15 minutes later the same guard again entered calling me by my number "26." I was again blindfolded, handcuffed and once again after some 10 paces or so was led into a room. When the blindfold and handcuffs were removed I saw I was once again in the same room this time there was a chair in the middle of the room. The chair had arms but no back. I was forced to sit in it and was shaved bald against my will. I was then given a dustpan and a small broom and asked to sweep up my hair. When I resisted, I was made to do so by my captors. I was once again returned to my cell blindfolded and handcuffed. From then on began my interrogation over long and continuous sessions. I was always removed from my cell as prisoner number 26, always blindfolded and handcuffed, and always led up a flight of 50 steps over 5 landings to the interrogation chamber. I have narrated to my lawyers my systematic humiliation by my captors who always remained unidentified, of how they stripped me of all self-respect, of how they degraded me and broke down my will and resistance, of how they brainwashed me to the extent that I ended up in Court on 19 September 1998 a shivering shell of a man willing to do anything to stop the destruction of my being. I even screamed at my captors that morning in court that I had nothing to do with a lawyer brought there by my wife.

My lawyers are in the process of preparing a detailed record of what I have narrated to them of the events from 14 September 1998 to 19 September 1998. This detailed record will be filed in this Honorable Court in due course. On 15 September 1998, I was taken to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital as I had chest pains after my arrest on 14 September 1998. I had complained of these pains on the 14 September itself but was taken to the Hospital only the next day. I am advised that a record has to be maintained by the police of all my movements while I am in their custody. This record is vital to the preparation of my appeal that is pending. On 19 September 1998, I was sent to Kajang Prison, and from there, on 23 September 1998, because of my deteriorating health, I was sent to the Institute Jantung Negara (National Heart Institute), then transferred to the Coronary Rehabilitation Ward (CRW) at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.

While I was at the CRW (Ward 29) in the General Hospital, I was visited at various times by police officer together with Yacob Karim. They were uninvited visitors who kept on trying to alternately threaten, convince and advise me against filing or proceeding with an appeal against the conviction and the sentence recorded against me on 19 September by the Kuala Lumpur sessions Court. One of the officers who came to the CRW (Ward 29) was a chief Inspector Rajakopal whose name is recorded as the complainant on the charge sheet filed in the Sessions Court in my case.

The Prison Officers guarding me at the General Hospital are maintaining a logbook of all my movements and visitors while in hospital. This has records of various visits by Yacob Karim and the police officers, sometimes beyond visiting hours or days. I am advised that the record of these visits and the attempts by Yacob Karim and the Police Officers to prevent my appeal from being filed or heard are important to the preparation and eventual hearing of my appeal. My lawyers have written to both the Prison Authorities and to the Police for the details of the respective logbooks to be made available to them for the preparation of my appeal. I am advised that these details have yet to be supplied though the Prison authorities have indicated that they will release the details on receipt of a Court Order. The police have failed to respond to the request.