Memories of ISA

I found THIS from Aliran. They are excerpts of writings by ex-ISA detainees, reliving their moments under the ISA, in solitary confinement, deprived of their rights. I reproduce here some that have spoken to my heart. If you have the time, do go to the link and read them all.

Abdul Aziz Ishak: They said, ‘Datuk Raja Abu Hanifah and Ishak Haji Mohamed have confessed. So why should you not do so?’ I was not deterred nor deluded by this line of approach. Had they not begun to realize even yet that the answers I had given to their questions were honest? Did they really expect me to break down and tell some other story that would fit in with the confessions?

Syed Husin Ali: ‘You know. I can force you to crawl and lick the floor,’ he shouted. I continued to remain silent. Go to hell with him! If they refused to believe me and wanted to torture me, let them. God would repay them for all they did.

Kassim Ahmad: I wanted to cry but my tears wouldn’t flow. The face of my youngest son, Ahmad Shauqi, nine years of age then and in Standard 3, floated before my eyes. He was the child to whom I was closest. I thought, he surely wouldn’t understand why his father was arrested.

James Wong Kim Min:A horrifying aspect of detention without trial in the Malaysian manner is that the detainee is considered guilty from the start. The old and honourable maxim that a person accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty means nothing. From the moment I was arrested some officials seemed delighted to regard me as guilty.

Dr Kua Kia Soong: ‘Why don’t you join the Barisan Nasional (the ruling coalition)?’ was a constant refrain and offer that was put to me during the interrogations…. ‘Don’t you know you have been used? We’ve got statements from one of your leaders (also under detention at the time) to show that he has used you all along!’

Dr Tan Seng Giaw: Under sustained duress, detainees can behave in unusual manners. The pressure of a caged person in addition to temporary or permanent damage sustained during the first 60 days can affect detainees’ behaviour.

More from Aliran HERE.

Jamaluddin Omar @ Yeshua Jamaluddin: His interrogators stripped him naked and forced him to enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. As he was made to crawl naked on the floor, for 10 minutes, one Inspector Yusoff told several other Special Branch officers in the room, “Ini orang Melayu tak sedar diri.”

Abdul Rahman Hamzah: They threw ashtrays at him and beat and poked at him with a broom. He had to do endless strenuous exercises like duck-walking, leap-frogging, crawling on all fours and “swimming”on the floor. All these were aimed at destroying his self-esteem and reducing him to a helpless wreck. If he stopped from exhaustion, they kicked him. […] The torture only stopped after he caved in and “confessed” to having planted explosives at the Sarawak Semarak site in July the previous year.

Irene Xavier: “I shall always remember how on the ninth day of my detention, I was beaten with a stick. It was the most humiliating experience in my life. I was forced to stand there while an inspector of the Special Branch beat me with a stick – to remind me that they were not going to treat women more leniently. I was truly in a state of shock.

Chow Chee Keong: An interrogator tried to burn his genitals with a burning rolled-up piece of newspaper. They pulled his hair, stepped hard on his fingers and toes with their booted feet and whacked his back with rolled-up bundles of newspapers.

Dr Munawar Ahmad Anees: “They screamed and screamed and screamed, in my ears, at my face, at me, again and again, over and over asking me to say ‘yes’ until I gave in and broke down saying yes, yes.”

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