Archive for August 28th, 2009

Call on Police and MACC to make public the number of reports which had been lodged against MACC (previously ACA) officers for abuse of power and use of physical force for past 12 months

At the Teoh Beng Hock Inquest at the Shah Alam Court this morning, the counsel for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Datuk Abdul Razak Musa asked the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas to issue a gag order to stop me from making unfair criticisms of the MACC arising from inquest proceedings.

He pointed out that I was present at the inquest and that I had criticized the MACC over what transpired at the inquest.

This was objected by the Gobind Singh Deo, counsel for Teoh’s family members and Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, counsel for the Selangor State Government who argued that the inquest does not have such unbridled powers.

The Coroner declined to issue such a gag order. Read the rest of this entry »


Punishing the Body or the Person? Why Some Cannot Accept Physical Punishments

By Farish A. Noor

In his book ‘Torture and Modernity: Self, Society and State in Modern Iran’ (1994), the scholar Darius Rejali looks at how the processes of torture and punishment have evolved over the centuries in Iran, from the period of the Qajar dynasty all the way to the regime of the Shah and the Islamic Revolutionary government. He makes one interesting and important observation which remains relevant to all of those who are concerned about the use of corporal punishment and torture by modern states today: that corporal punishment dates back to the medieval era where the popular perception of punishment was that it was a public spectacle that ought to be enacted upon the body of the individual, and not the subject him/herself.

In this respect, the modes of torture and punishment that were used in pre-modern Iran were no different from the modes of punishment that were used in China, India, Africa or Europe. Throughout the world during the pre-modern era the popular understanding of punishment was that it was meant to be a form of public humiliation, operating through the mode of public violence, that was intended to compel the guilty to repent and alter his/her ways through the threat of violence and force. Hence we see how in medieval Europe, Asia and the Arab world the modes of public punishment were all equally gory and bloody: Heads were chopped off, bodies were impaled, whipped, burned, branded, broken, quartered and sliced to pieces. Most of these punishments were carried out in public, ostensibly as a ‘lesson’ to others. But as many modern psychologists have pointed out, these public spectacles of violence also served the voyeuristic inclination of those who relished the sight of bodies being violated in public, and were thus also forms of bizarre public pornography.
Read the rest of this entry »