Friday, September 11, 2009

'I was punched, kicked and forced to strip'

'I was punched, kicked and forced to strip'
Thursday, 10 September 2009 11:04

Sivanesan Tanggavelu attending the Teoh Beng Hock inquest

(NST) SHAH ALAM: A witness yesterday raised doubts over claims by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission that suspects were never beaten. To the contrary, he gave a blow-by-blow account of how he was tortured.

T. Sivanesan, 22, was a suspect in a graft probe last year and was detained for five days where he was allegedly beaten and stripped and even had an ice pack put in his underwear.

Days after his release, Sivanesan lodged reports with the police and Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) and also took his complaints to non-governmental organisation Suaram and Public Complaints Bureau chief Senator Datuk T. Murugiah.

In earlier proceedings, four MACC officers had denied that they had used force or threats when questioning witnesses or suspects.

But Sivanesan, an assistant manager with Puncak Rezeki Makmur, told the court yesterday how he was punched, kicked, blindfolded and forced to strip when he was called in for questioning for five days at the Selangor MACC office in Plaza Masalam in September last year.

The witness also named four officers who he said took part in torturing him when he refused to sign a confession. He named them as Khairul Nizam, Mohan, Raymond and Ashraf.

Sivanesan, who was called to testify by counsel Gobind Singh Deo, said three plainclothes officers came to his house on Sept 4 last year and asked him to follow them to MACC office to facilitate investigations into a graft case.

"I knew one of them as Zulkifli. Later, I learnt that the other two were called Ashraf and 'J'."

When he arrived at the office, he was taken to a room. Another officer, identified as Mohan, came into the room and threatened him in Tamil.

"He said if I did not tell the truth, this place would be hell.

"Later, three officers brought a letter and tried to force me to sign it, but I refused."

Sivanesan said he was handcuffed from behind and left in the room for about four hours. He said he was taken to his house where MACC officers conducted a search. He was then taken back to the MACC office.

"I was taken to a room where I saw a tall bespectacled man wrapping an iron rod in newspapers. He slapped my cheeks five to six times.

"He told me to sign a confession letter but I refused. He said I was stubborn and forced me to strip down to my underwear."

Sivanesan said 10 to 15 people then slapped, kicked and punched him.

"The man who earlier slapped me came back and began beating my buttocks with the iron rod. They attacked me all at once.

"Ashraf slapped me more than twice and shouted profanities at me.

"I tried to fight back but was overpowered. Ashraf cuffed my feet and when I was on the ground, he hit my private parts and the soles of my feet with a cane. I was also blindfolded with a white towel with the letters 'MACC' emblazoned on it."

He said during that time, he heard one of the officers, whom he identified as a "deputy director", instructing the other officers to continue what they were doing.

"There were about 15 people in the room. I know some of their names and I can identify the rest as I will never forget their faces."

Sivanesan said he passed out after that. When he regained consciousness, he was still in the room and there was an ice pack in his underwear.

He said the "torture session" resumed the following day when the bespectacled officer slapped, punched and kicked him for about 20 minutes.

He claimed there were three other officers who stood by and watched.

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