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HR: Bloody Fangs At Innocent Entrails [al Maunah]
By Harun Rashid

3/1/2002 2:18 pm Thu

Jan 3, 2002

Bloody Fangs At Innocent Entrails

by Harun Rashid

The criminal law is addressed to the problem of anti-social behaviour. Basically there is freedom to think and act outside the limits proscribed by laws which are carefully drawn to define exactly both the offense and the punishment.

The Attorney General has the duty to bring those who transgress the defined limits before the courts, giving evidence to prove that the actions of the accused were sufficient to constitute a breach of the law. The court must evaluate the evidence he presents, and if it is sufficient to convince a reasonable man that a crime has been committed, then a verdict of guilty is justified. It only needs then for an appropriate punishment to be applied.

There are several theories regarding the purpose of punishment. One theory stresses the need to rehabilitate the individual. Another focuses on pain and discomfort in order to convince the offender that the anti-social conduct should not be risked a second time. Yet a third view focuses on the value of the sentence as a deterrent to others, that they might think carefully before acting in a similar anti-social manner. A forth view regards imprisonment as an opportunity for reform and rehabilitation; a place where skills may be taught that will allow the offender to support himself by honest means.

There are those who favor the death penalty. Their arguments include an appeal to thrift, saying no further costs need be incurred by society once the offender is dead. Another approach says the threat of further harm is ended, as the person is permanently removed from society. A common emotional appeal emphasizes the heinous character of the offender, generating widespread hatred that sometimes leads to mob action. "It serves him right! Hang him!" becomes the public outcry.

In the normal course of events a defendant is given ample opportunity to offer a defense against the charges brought. Competent legal counsel will present any evidence tending to exonerate an innocent person who has been mistakenly charged. The defendant is given an opportunity to relate the true facts surrounding the case. If a mistake has been made, and the evidence clearly shows this fact, then the defendant is declared innocent and discharged. The police are then sent to seek another suspect.

What is the public to think if the suspect is not allowed a defense? Certainly anyone has the right to present a defense. Suppose the legal counsel is incompetent, failing to put forward the defendant's side of the story. What is the public to think of that? Suppose the judge shows no interest in the justice of the case before him, but merely proceeds as though the entire matter had been previously scripted for him? What then?

There are cases in which the defendant is clearly not of sound mind. A civilised society does not hang those who are seriousdly feeble-minded or insane. They are clearly incapable of forming the necessary intent to break the law. A moron or imbecile who cannot say his name, who does not recognise his relatives, and has no memory of yesterday is a creature to be pitied, not punished. Such a defendant requires compassion from those who observe the situation at close range.

It is said the PM of Malaysia is rubbing his hands in glee that those convicted of terrorist acts have been sentenced to hang. His prosecutor, who is now named by the PM to become Attorney General, calls out for all of them to be taken to the gallows. He gloats at the victory he has brought the country, restoring it to a safe condition. He claims victory over an opponent who was taken unawares from his bed and brutally beaten beyond any humane necessity. The prostrate and mindless victims were thrown at his feet that he might drum his chest and roar out his courage and prowess.

The leader of the group was sent for psychiatric examination by the judge in the midst of the trial. The record does not reflect the results of that examination. Any observer can see that the man is totally bereft of his senses. He is not allowed to speak because the public must not see that he cannot speak. He can control neither his jaw nor his tongue, which often protudes unbidden from his mouth. He is unable to respond to the simplest question. Yet this poor creature is presented to the public as the leader of a dangerous gang eager to go to war against his king and country.

His defense counsel has a reputation for courtroom courage and competence; yet there is no mention of either the demented condition of his client or the significant facts surrounding the case. How is the public to view this lapse? It is not that there is no defense available. Certainly it is an easy matter to show that the testimony given is false, and that none of the events occurred as related in the trial. Anyone who takes an interest in the matter can readily discover for one's self that a grave injustice has been done. Yet the same lack of defense occurs for each of the defendants. Has the legal profession fallen on such sad times, as alleged?

The prosecutor has a reputation for manufacturing evidence to secure a conviction in the Anwar Ibrahim case. These allegations have not been cleared. Is the country to endure addition instances in which political intrigues are to be played out in the courts? To do so continues the mockery which is put forward in Malaysia as justice. To bring charges in serious matters of the law is the duty of the Attorney General. It is unthinkable that a trained legal scholar would lend himself to bringing charges in a case in which the entire scenario is false and manufactured. Yet this seems to be the unpalatable truth of the matter.

The family of Mohd. Amin lives a few miles south of Bukit Jenalik, between Lenggong and Sauk. On a Saturday night in July, 1999 a Pajero painted in army colours drove into the family kampong. Mohd. Amin was seated in the back, with two other men in army uniform in the front seats. It seemed to observers that he was under some restraint, and was not allowed to speak to anyone but his mother. He was not allowed to get out of the vehicle, and when she came out to the vehicle they spoke only briefly through the open window.

After about five minutes the Pajero drove out, and Mohd. Amin was not seen again for over a month. So Mohd. Amin was in the custody of the army the night before the alleged burglary happened. How could he have led his group if he was already detained? After a month in the hands of the police he could not recognise his family, and had no memory of what events had transpired. To all intents and purposes his brain was a pulp. To what agency of our police do we turn for an answer to this infamy?

Why was this important piece of evidence not presented at the trial? The appearance is that it was purposely concealed. Because of his vicious treatment, Mohd. Amin is not physically or mentally able to tell the truth of what happened, but there are many other witnesses. Why were they not called? The true story is not difficult to re-create. Basically, the information given to the journalists and photographers who covered the story is all a big lie. The burglary of the rifles, the hideout on Bukit Jenalik, all the rest of the sordid story was concocted by Norian Mai and the Defense Minister Najib. An honest and informed opinion, based on information not presented to the public, is that it is all a lengthy lie ... a total fabrication; another Malaysian sandiwara.

What is so sad is that a large number of people know of these things and say nothing. They are intimidated such that they consider it prudent not to betray their knowledge. Their fellow men have been sentenced to the gallows and no one steps forward to object. No one wants to attract attention. No one wants to jeopardise what security they enjoy while there is a venomous and vindictive government. The PM tells us Malaysia is already an Islamic State. What version of Islamic State can he be referring to?

News reports repeatedly state the group chose to conceal themselves in a "tropical hideout", but a visit to Bukit Jenalik reveals it to be a modest stand of rubber trees, with bare dirt and no undergrowth for concealment. The entire hillside is open to view on all sides, even to a school located on an adjacent hill. Police standing on the main road reported that they could observe and identify known personalities on Bukit Jenalik through binoculars. No one would choose it for a hideout.

There is nothing to suggest that 29 men spent even an afternoon there. The rubber tappers who tend the trees report they each were given ten ringgits to disappear. We were told the young Ranger Medan was tortured while suspended from a tree, yet there is no tree with a limb from which a man could be suspended.

We were told Ranger Medan was shot in the legs, but those who saw his body said the legs were intact. He had been shot between the eyes at close range. He had been dead for four days when he was brought in for post-mortem examination. This was contrary to testimony given at the trial, but the pathologist's report (with verifying photographs) was not introduced as evidence.

Jaafar Puteh, a collector of durian fruit, was taken hostage during the weekend, and thus he was an eye witness to the events which took place. At the end of the staged farce, Jaafar Puteh was not released. Instead he was taken to the Lenggong police station, where he was kept away from the press and anyone else who might want to learn the truth. He was kept there, under police custody and care, for ten days when he died with stomach pains under mysterious circumstances. The pathologist who performed the post-mortem could find no cause of death.

We must introduce the possibility the judge was misled in the facts of the case. He visited Bukit Jenalik, along with other members of the court. But he could not know that the large holes he saw had just been dug by heavy equipment for his benefit. They were not there in the months following the alleged incident.

He did not ask to see the durian tree to which three men were bound. That is because there is no such durian tree; the top of the hill is planted with rubber trees. While it is true there are durian trees lower down, none of these trees qualify as a credible site to support the detective's story. What then is the truth of the detective's involvement? The widow of the slain Special Branch detective Sagadevan has asked to be told the true story, only to be met by silence.

Her house was cordoned off by local police, keeping anyone from interviewing her. This continued for months after the affair was over. What was the necessity for this? For her silence she has received a house and half a million ringgit. But she will never forget that last strange phone call from her husband, telling her to "take care of the children" and reminding her of the saving account where the family money was kept. When pressed for an explanation, he could only make vague reference to "decisions made by those above me." The impression given is that in order to lend credibility to the lie, the political strategists ordered the sacrifice of Sagadevan and Ranger Medan.

The whole story, as presented at the time and later in different versions at the trial, is too fantastic to be believed. If a fair trial were held, the unjust behaviour of the prosecutor would be exposed immediately. The vicious and disgusting conduct that has characterised this whole affair has confirmed the degradation of the judiciary under the present government. The Sun headlines scream that the PM is satisfied. The editorial staff and writers of the Sun say the front page is not their doing since December 27, and that is easy to believe.

The PM's satisfaction mentioned in the Sun headline actually refers to an apology from the Sun editors. They retracted stories reporting alleged threats on the PM's life. But the headline appears over the picture of his victim, Mohd. Amin, a pious man reduced to the level of a cretin by his Special Branch captors. Amin remains in their care, and as the front-page pictures show, he must be guided through his steps as though he were a small child. He was once in the intelligence department of the army, resigning because it interferred with his prayers. Those who know him say he was a sweet and gentle person, incapable of harming others. It is this man the judge has sent to the gallows, to hang by the neck until dead.

The PM says he is now satisfied. He feels they got what they deserved. Apparently he is proud of his party, his police and his prosecutors. But no one else is. He has brought the country into a condition of painful shame; he has irreparably harmed countless good and innocent people. He has degraded all the national institutions. For this egregious evil, done willfully at his hand, it is difficult to see where and when he will find forgiveness.

Link Reference : HR Worldview: Bloody Fangs At Innocent Entrails