We are reproducing below the letter of P. Uthayakumar addressed to the Prime Minister, Najib Razak, and Home Minister, Zahid Hamidi, describing the horrific conditions of his imprisonment in Kajang Prison.
No prisoner in our country – or indeed any other civilized country – deserves such brutal and abusive treatment. It is clear that the prison authorities, with the tacit agreement of their political masters, are determined to break Uthayakumar’s health and spirit and to make him pay dearly for his defiance of the government in pursuing the cause of marginalized Indians in the country.
Uthaya’s plight is little known to most Malaysians with the mainstream mass media complicit in erecting a wall of silence on his case and refusing to share with the public the various appeals made by Hindraf; his family and Uthaya himself.
CPI hopes that other stakeholders, besides those to whom it is directly addressed, will be catalyzed by this letter to urgently take up his case as well as the larger issue of abusive and inhumane prison conditions, and the selective harsh treatment meted out to special cases that have been highlighted.
Immediate action is needed to ensure that Uthaya, who in our view clearly qualifies as a political prisoner of conscience, is treated with the decency, humanity and respect that he deserves, and for the vindictive and abusive treatment meted out to him to be stopped.
We also call on all political parties and Members of Parliament especially to urgently take up the case of reform in the country’s prison system which is long overdue and to rid it of its inhumane and abusive system and actions which are a blot on our conscience and country’s image.
P. Uthayakumar’s letter to the PM and the Home Minister
18th October 2013
Uthayakumar a/l Ponnusamy
Y.A.B Dato’ Sri Najib Razak
Prime Minister Office of Malaysia
Main Block Perdana Putra Building
Federal Government Administrative Centre
Y.B. Dato Seri Zahid Hamidi
Home Minister, Malaysia
Block Dl & D2
Complex D Administrative Centre
Fax No. 03-88883444 Email. [email protected]
Fax No. 03-88891613/88891610 Email. webmastereamoha.gov.my
Re: P. UTHAYAKUMAR TORTURED IN CLOSED-UP ISOLATION LOCK-UP AT KAJANG PRISON, (DARK ROOM-DIM LIGHTS), 27 DAYS AND TO CONTINUE: MALAYSIA’S ONLY POLITICAL ACTIVIST DETAINEE
I have and am being tortured with mala fide at the most feared and dreaded closed isolation lock-up (tutup) of Kajang Prison all in for 27 days and to continue indefinitely. I am locked-up under solitary confinement alone, 24 hours a day not seeing sunlight or fresh air [in a] dimly lit cell and [with] just one set of prison pants and shirt in an empty lock-up. Also denied reading and writing materials and even warm water to drink. Drinking the contaminated tap water caused me to fall ill. Also denied the 15 minutes weekly phone calls to lawyers and family, denied the monthly family visit and lawyers’ visit.
I am denied even a toothbrush, toothpaste, bathing and washing soap, towel, blanket, pillow and even the ½ inch foam mattress to sleep on the cement floor that he otherwise gets.
I am forced to sleep on the bare cold cement floor despite also suffering from arthritis, forced to drink rice porridge using a dipper (gayong) I and hundreds, if not thousands of other prisoners use/have used to wash their backsides. My sole shirt and pants remain unwashed (even with plain water) for days, as it will take days to dry with the very small only one feet x 1½ feet ventilation grille. Upon returning from Court (appeal) on 24/9/2013, I was locked up for 8 days in a dirty, dark, hot and stuffy 10 feet x 10 feet “quarantine” lock-up at the death row with another open (no partition) squatting toilet bowl and bath area of 2 feet x 10 feet with no bathroom privacy even during early morning long calls together with five other dangerous and violent criminals.
As a diabetic patient of 17 years, I am still given sweet white bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On the three prison doctors’ written note, I was given a plastic chair because of my prolapsed disk backbone pain.
But this is the third time it is being taken away despite my legs getting swollen and toes numb as a result of sitting on the floor and my complaints of severe pain ignored. Despite the prison authorities been given three of my specialist medical reports (since 2009), I was refused to be taken for treatment (by appointment) on 1/8/2013 with HUKM hospital consultant neurosurgeon Prof Dr Shanmugarajah despite our solicitors letter enclosing the appointment card. For complaining about the above and other prison conditions and abuse of other prisoners, I have been scolded with the words “kurang ajar” (ill mannered) by DSP Mohamad Noor and “you are a bloody prisoner” by prison Superintendent Ranjit Singh and repeatedly shouted at.
After almost 4 months being treated with at least some semblance of a security prisoner, the prison authorities are now with mala-fide forcing me to squat in line in muster (roll call) with other dangerous and violent criminals. Earlier I was allowed to remain in my cell for the other three i.e. 11.00am, 2.00pm and 4.00pm musters.
Despite my 4 pages appeal letter to the Prison Director Tuan Haji Wahab dated 2/10/2013, not only has there been no positive action but this latest torture of 27 days (plus 8 days quarantine) in the most feared and dreaded isolation cell, for citing my safety and not wanting to muster with the other dangerous and violent criminals.
I hereby appeal that:-
1. I, an ex-ISA detainee, is forthwith transferred to the hospital wing in view of my illnesses as this wing being the safest place in prison or at the very least the security wing, as I have also represented victims as their lawyer, whose perpetrators, 3 are in the death row and scores more gangsters in the very same prison, [as well as] previous murder attempt and live bullet sent to me and made known to directors and prison officers. Why this racial injustice when previously Malay and Chinese political leaders like Lim Guan Eng, Mahfuz Omar, Mat Sabu, Mathias Chang and Anwar Ibrahim had been detained at the safer hospital wing?
2. Forthwith send me to HUKM [Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia] appointment.
3. Stop the above and all prison torture and abuses of all other prisoners.
4. If not the Prime Minister, the Home Minister to urgently visit me in the prison to know the first -and truth.
P. Uthayakumar, Kajang Prison
c.c. Pengarah Penjara Kajang (03-8736 7449), Ketua Penjara Malaysia (03-8739 9205)