Excerpts: Read here for more in Malaysiakini
N Tharmendran, 42,a former RMAF sergeant, claimed he was detained and TORTURED by military intelligence for THREE weeks .
He believes he is not the only one being tortured by the intelligence officers, claiming at least 30 others were also experiencing the same ordeal for reasons unknown to him. He does not know what has happened to them.
Tharmendran has been charged with company director Rajandran Prasad Kusy over the theft of two F-5E engines at the air movement section of the Subang air force base in December 2007.
If found guilty on charge under Section 380 of the Penal Code, he faces up to 10 years in jail and whipping.
Tharmendran can vividly recount every detail of the internal military investigation that he claims he was subjected to, as if it was just yesterday.
Tharmendran alleged that :
- The favourite method of his interrogators - allegedly led by a major and his assistant, also a major - was to make him wear a crash helmet and repeatedly hit him as hard as possible. He told Malaysiakini:
“They used a golf stick and something long like a cricket bat. The reason is that when you hit me with a helmet (on), there's no mark. You can't find any mark, but the pain is internal pain.And because of the physical abuse, Tharmendran said he suffered severe pain in his neck and shoulders and was barely move his left arm for a few days after the interrogation ended.
That's what Major (name withheld) told me. (He said) 'I can hit you how hard I want, but there won't be any mark. Even (if) you go to the doctor he will say you only have (a) headache'.'”
- He also claimed that he was repeatedly stripped to his underwear, made to stand on a block of ice for up to an hour at a time, and threatened with death.He said,
“I was told by this major, he has friends in the UTK (special forces) and KDN (Home Ministry) and it won't take him much time to get some men to shoot and kill me.
Another thing he said was that nobody would believe me (if I report the torture), because he is the IO (investigating officer) and he has the authority.
He said that, even if I go to the hospital and say I was being tortured by these people, he said nobody would believe me.”
- Tharmendan said he was not allowed to contact anyone to inform them of his whereabouts during the three weeks of his detention.
Tharmendran said he lost 20kg after being tortured and during the six months he was detained in the Sg Buloh Prison for not being able to post the initial bail of RM150,000 in connection with the charge.
Tharmendran said he is grateful for his release on reduced bail of RM50,000, but that adjusting to life after six months of detention is hard.
He expressed his gratitude to prison officers and warders who had taken care of him and helped him with his problems.
Now that he is back in society, Tharmendran said he needs to pick himself up and deal with the debt facing his family, who had to borrow money to post bail. He said,
“They (his family) were very happy to see me, but now I have to look for a job. I'm jobless now, and it doesn't matter what (kind of work)... I can do anything.He faces another charge of abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code for allegedly collaborating with senior airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop to steal the engines from the Sungai Besi air force base.
As long as I can get a job... I need to pay back whatever money my family borrowed. My mom's jewellery has all been pawned and it's not fair to my relatives.
I have to go and see my daughter, but I don't know how I am going to face (her). She's 12 years old. I'm divorced so she's living with my ex-wife in Ipoh,” he said.
I saw her last November during the school holidays. I used to get her for the holidays and she'll be with my mom for three weeks... I need to do a lot of explaining to her.”
Mohamad Shukri was not charged with the theft and is likely to be one of the main prosecution witnesses.