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STATUTORY DECLARATION from Dr. Munawar Ahmad Anees (part 1)
Note to Readers. The following material is very long. It also contains certain explicit language and graphic accounts of events, which some readers may find unedifying. Certainly, *ALL* readers will find it distressing. We therefore urge maturity in reading it. Despite it's length, we urge readers to read it in it's entirety and to copy it, email it, print it, in full and unedited as widely as possible - online *AND* offline.
STATUTORY DECLARATION (Full text, unedited.)
I, Dr. Munawar Ahmad Anees, NRIC No: 480927-71-5139, of No. 474, Lorong 17/13A, Happy Garden, Petaling Jaya and of Kajang Prison (Banduan No. BKJ 7175/98 HL) do hereby declare and state as follows:
1. At about 10.30 a.m. on 14 September 1998 I was at home at No. 474, Jalan 17/13A, Happy Garden, Petaling Jaya.
2. I had just started checking my email on the computer when I noticed that about 10 to 12 people had suddenly come into the compound of my house. The front main gate into the house was open at that time. I heard the noise of people inside the house. I came down from the first floor of my house and on the way down told my wife, Nadia, that lots of people had suddenly come to the house. She came down as well.
3. As soon as I entered the main living room on the ground floor, one man from that large group came to me and identified himself as Inspector Mazlan. He said that he was arresting me under the Internal Security Act for posing a threat to the national security of Malaysia. He immediately handcuffed me. By now I noticed that some from that group of people who had come in had seated themselves on chairs in the living room while others were talking to my driver.
4. The entire group were in plainclothes and had no visible identification on them that they were police officers. I was not shown any warrant for my arrest. No one produced any search warrant.
5. As soon as I was handcuffed one person who did not identify himself asked to go to my study. I asked for my handcuffs to be removed. He refused. About 5 to 6 of them then went to my study. The way they walked about in my house indicated familiarity with the place. They entered my study without my permission and ransacked the entire room. They went through everything there: all the drawers, my computer, the software, papers, magazines, books, everything that was there. This exhaustive search took them about an hour. They were careless and rough in their search and showed no regard for things. They removed everything that they could take: videos, audiotapes, faxes, disks, books, photos, magazines.
They even opened several sealed letters that had just come with the mail. They took things from inside drawers, from the bookshelves, from within files. They took my tax returns and my personal and family photographs that were there.
6. At one point one of the members of that group asked about the room that faced the study. I told him it was my daughter's room. Several of them went into that room but I do not know what, if anything, they removed from that room.
7. My wife was with me all the time. She was frightened and terribly shaken at what was happening to us in our own house and was trembling. She was holding onto me and we were both trying to encourage each other, she more than me because I was already suffering from heavy palpitations at this point.
I asked her for some water. She got me the water.
8. The police placed all items taken from the first floor of my house and my study in a cardboard box which they had brought with them. They took me down to the living room and there announced that they were taking me away. I was never told what my offense was and I was never shown any search warrant or warrant of arrest.
9. I turned to my wife and held her. She was on the verge of tears and my parting words to her were to be strong.
10. I did not see my wife again after that until 19 September 1998 when I was taken to the court by the police.
11. The police bundled me out of my house pulling me along by the handcuffs. I was placed in the back of an unmarked Proton car which had been driven into the compound of my house.
Inspector Mazlan sat in the front passenger seat of the car and two other officers sat on the back seat with me, one on either side.
12. After about a half hour drive I arrived at what I think was the Travers Road Police Station. The entire team of police officers got down from the car and once again I was bundled out of the car. The rest of the group of police who had been at my house also arrived there shortly after that.
13. My breathing at this time was labored as my palpitations had worsened and my arms had gone numb. I complained to Inspector Mazlan but he ignored my request that I needed medical attention for my heart condition.
14. I was taken into a room somewhere within a building at that Police Station. There in that room I was left standing while one of them emptied the contents of the cardboard box onto a large table and started to group and separate the things they had taken from my house. Inspector Mazlan then started writing a list of the items and when he was finished he asked me to sign several documents. I was neither given a copy of these documents nor was I allowed to read them. I have no idea of what was recorded on these documents and whether the list prepared of the items taken from my house was in fact a complete list.
15. All throughout this process I was left handcuffed and standing.
16. When they had finished one of the officers seated at that table turned to me and told me, once again, that I had been arrested under the Internal Security Act but he gave no details of the offense or any reasons for my arrest. He just told me that I was a threat to Malaysia. I could not understand this at all as I have never in all my years in Malaysia involved myself in anything that could be described as a threat to the country. He then wanted my personal particulars and started taking them down. He asked for my personal particulars and my family's particulars. This officer never at any time identified himself. He wrote down all that I gave him on some paper and asked me to sign. When I asked to read what had been written he just snapped at me to sign and not to interfere in his work. I signed.
17. All this while my palpitations were causing my breathing to be very labored. I complained once again that I needed medical assistance. This request was ignored, again, but I was given a glass of water and a cigarette to smoke. I felt strangely lightheaded after the cigarette.
18. I was kept in that room all the while.
19. A little later another police officer brought in a typed document which he said was the official police report. It was in Bahasa Malaysia and again I was told curtly to sign it. I did so. I was not allowed to read it and it was also neither read nor translated to me.
20. All the things taken from my house were then placed back in the cardboard box. When they were done Inspector Mazlan came over to me and said that I was now being handed to some others. He did not identify them but added that I would be in safe hands and that I must cooperate with them. He then left the room.
21. After Mazlan left two of the men who were there in that room came over and held me in a tight grip so much so that I could not even struggle. A third man came over and blindfolded me. I was then led out of the room and guided and dragged into some sort of a vehicle. The entire exercise of getting me into the vehicle took some time. My vision was completely blacked out by the blindfold. It was necessary to climb up some steps to get into the vehicle and while the officers tried to guide me, I found my feet and legs suddenly heavy and weighed down. I found it difficult to walk and an effort to move. I was finally placed in a cage-like metal contraption in that vehicle. This contraption, which I examined with my hands, was triangular in shape and very small so much so that I could only crouch in it. I was left alone for a while in that cage in the back of the vehicle. It was hot and airless in there. After sometime I heard the sound of an engine starting and then the vehicle moved off.
22. I think the vehicle traveled for about 30 to 40 minutes.
At the end of the journey, when it stopped I heard sounds of metal doors being opened and footsteps coming into the vehicle. I was pulled out of the cage and then out of the vehicle.
23. I had no idea where I was.
24. Still blindfolded and handcuffed I was led/dragged away by two men. I heard other footsteps around me at this time but no one spoke to me or amongst themselves. I recollect I was taken through several doors because I heard them being opened and shut. They finally stopped and someone removed my blindfold and handcuffs.
25. I found I was a small room. There were four men in that room. They were all in plainclothes and they immediately adopted a very aggressive confrontational stance against me.
They were exceptionally rude and coarse in the language they used. They asked me to strip naked. I tried to resist but had no option but to accede to their request.
26. My clothes, slippers, watch and glasses were taken away.
27. One of them then took then took my fingerprints. It was a long session as he took multiple impressions on some 10 or so forms or other documents.
28. I was then weighed.
29. All the while these things were being done the four men kept making disparaging remarks in a dismissive humiliating style. I was pushed against a wall and my height was taken.
30. I was then given a dark blue loose pajama type of pants and a T-shirt and told to get dressed. I did so. I was again blindfolded and handcuffed and then taken through a series of doors and probably up a flight of stairs.
31. I was finally pushed through a door and when my blindfold was removed and my eyes adjusted to the light I saw that I was in a cell of approximately 8 feet square. There were two wooden platforms placed against the cell walls, one on each side. There was no other furniture of any sort. The cell had no window and ventilation was through two tiny ratholes at the bottom of one wall. There was no bedding or blankets.
There was a small thin towel on one platform and beside it was a plastic bowl. The room was brightly lit by an overhead light that was never switched off throughout my stay there.
The glare of the light could not be avoided from any position in that small cell. There was an old vent on one wall that made a continuous horrendous grating sound. This vent did not seem to be moving any air about and was also never switched off. No sound from outside came through the door. The cell was literally soundproof though at times I thought I heard the sound of coughing and heavy breathing as I was led out of the cell to various other places.
32. Before my captors left the cell I was told, again rudely and in a dismissive style, that I had henceforth no name or identity, that I was number 26 and that I was only to answer to that number each and every time it was called.
33. About 10 to 15 minutes later the door of the cell was slammed open and a man walked in and shouted out `26'. I was slow to respond and was severely reprimanded for that. I was again blindfolded and handcuffed, led out of the cell and moved about 10 paces or so. When my blindfold was removed I saw I was in another room. There was a man with a camera there. My handcuffs were removed and about 20 to 30 photographs were taken of me from various angles. I was then again blindfolded and handcuffed and returned to my cell.
34. Whenever I was in the cell a small viewing hatch on the door was opened every few minutes to check on me.
35. About 10 to 15 minutes later, I can only guess as to the time, the same guard again entered the cell calling me by my number `26'. I was once again blindfolded and handcuffed and made to walk about ten paces or so. When the blindfold and handcuffs were removed I saw I was once again in a room. This time there was a chair in the middle of the room. The chair had arms but no back. I was forced to sit in it and, against my will, shaved bald. I was then given a dustpan and a small broom and asked to sweep up my hair. When I resisted I was made to do so by my captors.
36. When I had finished sweeping up my hair I was once again blindfolded and handcuffed and returned to my cell.
37. Within a space of a few minutes - I had hardly time to sit on one of the wooden platforms - there was a loud knock on the door and it was violently swung open. This ritual of a loud knock and the door being violently opened was followed each time I was taken out of my cell.
38. This time the guard walked in, looked at me seated on the platform and shouted that I was rude at not having wished him. I was warned that I was to get up and greet whoever entered the cell. Once again I was warned that if my number was called I was to respond immediately.
39. I was now directed to take a bath. I was not asked if I would like to take one. I was directed to do so. I was given a small thin towel and a little piece of soap. I was not blindfolded or handcuffed but was told to keep my head down and not to look up. I was led out of my cell and one of the guards walked beside me forcibly keeping my head bent down. I walked down a long narrow corridor. There was just enough light in the corridor to walk by. On one side of the corridor I saw about 5 similar doors like those on my cell. At the end of the corridor there was a bathroom. I was asked by the guard to switch on the light in the bathroom. When I did so I noticed a sink and a squat toilet that had no door. There were protrusions on the wall from which presumably water was to come.
40. As I got ready to take a bath the guard yelled at me to get on and to hurry up. The water was very cold. I started my bath but when I was halfway through it and while still having soap on my body he stopped me and then got me to dress and to get out of the bathroom. I forgot to switch off the light and the guard became angry and screamed at me that he wasn't there to serve me. I was rushed back to my cell with my clothes still damp. All the way back my head was once again kept forcibly down so that I couldn't look up.
41. The one vivid memory I have of that dark corridor is that of a single waste basket outside one of the many doors - the only sign that I saw during my stay there that perhaps I was not the only occupant in this hell.
42. A short while later the door opening ritual was repeated.
I stood up to meet the guard. He walked in, handed me a small packet, said nothing and left. When I opened it I saw that it had a little rice and a small piece of fish in it. I couldn't eat the fish. I tried it and it had a peculiar rancid taste as if it was off. I ate some of the rice. I had hardly done that when the door opened again. I stood up and the packet was removed.
43. By my estimate the time would now have been about 8 to 9 p.m. on the night of I was arrested. I thought that I would now be left alone. I was tired, dazed and disoriented, still having very heavy palpitations and labored breathing and intensely worried about my family. The heavy feeling in my legs and lightheadedness had returned after the rice meal and I felt very lethargic.
44. Once again there was the now familiar bang on the door and my number `26' was shouted out. I stood up. The door opened and this time two guards walked in. I greeted them.
They did not speak. They first handcuffed and then blindfolded me but this time the blindfold was different. It consisted of black glasses that wrapped around my eyes and blinker-like sides that completely cut out all light. I could see nothing.
45. They led me out of my cell. They held me for a short distance and from then on gave directions and allowed me to grope my way. They were always by my side or a step behind.
They always asked me to open doors. We went up a flight of stairs - there were 50 steps over five landings. At each stage one of the guards would position my cuffed hands on the railing and ask me to follow it up. I was told to count to ten steps and then turn to my left. I think I walked up 5 floors.
46. After the 50th step I was asked to stop. One of the two swung me around and punched me in the stomach and said that he was `Mr. Nice Guy' and that I was `Dr. Feel Good'. I was then turned around again and pushed against a door and asked to open it. I did so and when told went inside. One of the guards came from behind and adjusted my blindfold partially.
I could see where I was from the corner of my eyes and partially from below the blindfold.
47. I was taken through a series of doors and then through something that had the appearance of a long dark corridor. I saw a red light at the end, somewhat like red light that one sees in a photographer's darkroom. On the left there were some doors. I had the distinct impression that there was an abyss on my right side and that if I took one step wrong I would fall into it. I was told to turn to my left. I did so.
My handcuffs were now taken off. A moment later one of the guards took my blindfold off. I saw I was facing an open room. It was brightly lit. I was dazed, fazed out, blinded by the intense light and for the first few minutes after the blindfold was removed could make no sense of things.
48. When I was finally able to focus I saw four stonefaced expressionless men seated on chairs behind a table. The two men on either side looked Chinese, the one in the middle left Indian and the one other Malay. My guards left me standing in front of the table. There was silence in the room.
49. Suddenly the Malay man thumped the table and shouted at me in Bahasa Malaysia. I did not understand him and apologized in English for not being fluent in Bahasa. The Malay man then switched to a mixture of Malay and English and abused me for not speaking the language. He repeatedly kept saying `fuck', `fucking' as he abused me. The other three joined in as well. This went on for something like 20 to 30 minutes. I tried explaining that I could write and read Jawi but that as most of my work was in English and that all my friends spoke English there was never any great need to become fluent in Bahasa. After about 30 minutes or so the four of them stopped and the Malay officer suddenly slammed the table again and shouted at me in English that I had no manners, that I had entered a place where there were four seated officers and I had not greeted them. I was startled by his actions. I apologized to him, said I was sorry, that I had lost all track of time and place, that I did not know what to say to them. The Malay man stared at me and then said in Urdu "thum bahat jau" - you sit down.
50. From then on my interrogators abused and assailed me mainly in English.
51. There was a small double conical plastic stool in front of the table. It had no back or arms. I sat on it and found that it was unstable and rocked and swiveled at even the slightest move. I was unsteady on that stool and one of the two Chinese men shouted at me to sit properly. I tried to explain but before I could even do so he shouted, "Learn some manners, otherwise things are going to be difficult for you". I apologized to him and said, "Sorry, sir, the stool is unsteady."
52. There was then suddenly a barrage of questions directed at me. One interrogator would ask a question, I would be in the middle of my answer when another would cut in with a second question. I would turn to the second officer and the third would attack me with a different question. I would turn to the third and the first would yell at me demanding his answer. As I tried to recollect my thoughts between the first, second and third questions, the fourth officer would cut in with yet another question. The questions were never related, there was no link between them though they were all directed at my personal particulars, about my work, something about everything but nothing indicative of any subversive or criminal activities. This style of questioning was consistently followed throughout my interrogation there though at times some of the interrogators would leave the room leaving behind two and, at times, one interrogator. I can only guess they went to rest but they never let me rest.
53. While this was going on I heard the door behind me being violently kicked open. I turned and saw a man walk in. The four behind the table stood up. The man who walked in was carrying a thick heavy file. He walked up to me and hit the back of my head with the file and then shouted at me that they knew everything and that there was no need for me to misguide them or to hide. He said that they knew everything I did with Anwar. When I tried to protest that I did nothing except help write speeches, this officer menacingly said " I am giving you 24 hours. Within that period come up with what we want or we will be very very nasty with you." He went on to say that his superiors wanted the information from me within 24 hours, that by tomorrow they must complete the matter. He then hit the back of my head again with his file, thumped the floor with his shoes, shouted `Hidup Malaysia', turned and left. The door was heavily slammed shut behind him.
54. When this officer left the room the Indian-looking man at the table pointed at me and warned me that the officer who had just left was the top-notch officer and added `You know what he wants. He wants facts, information. We want facts." I again protested that I had done nothing irregular but they were not interested in my protestations and continued haranguing me. They alternated in questioning me about my personal particulars, about my family, my work, regularly interspersing the barrage of questions with warnings that my arrest was under the Internal Security Act because I was a threat to the national security of Malaysia, that under the Internal Security Act I would never be bailed out and that no lawyer could ever see me.
55. They would then switch to telling me that the Internal Security Act was not punitive but preventive, that they had invoked it in order to prevent perceived threats to the national security of the country, that I should not feel ashamed of my presence there before them, that they had arrested members of Parliament, Chief Ministers and other high profile figures. They described to me an attempt by a person known as Kitingan who tried to secede from Malaysia.
56. In between all the verbal abuse, threats and advise, the Malay officer tried to impress me with his knowledge of Urdu by the use of the odd word or two or by singing a snatch of some Hindi song.
57. I kept telling them, whenever they would let me, that I had made no attempt to attack Malaysia, that I had done nothing illegal or criminal and could not understand my presence before them and for their treating me in such a humiliating and degrading manner. They never answered me on that but would always turn things around and tell me that I was at a transit station and that my presence there was a favor to me and my family. One or other of the four would always warn me that if I did not co-operate I would be sent to a detention center for 2 years and that the detention would be further extended in 2 year multiples. I was repeatedly told that I would never see my family again and that I should consider this opportunity a blessing since everyone was giving me a chance.
58. I couldn't understand what they wanted and what was this chance they were giving me. I would tell them this. They would then emphasize, in turn, repeatedly, about how senior people had been arrested for their own rehabilitation. They warned me that my perception of no wrong was mine and not necessarily correct, that in someone else's or his (the officer's) mind I had done wrong. They warned me that the Internal Security Act was to retrain minds towards goodness, to offer me a chance to realize my mistakes and an opportunity to repent. They would repeatedly emphasize that I could not lie as they knew everything and that my perception of events and ideas was totally wrong. They said that they would correct me and I must accept their perceptions. They warned me that they wanted me to co-operate and that if I did so the interview would finish quickly and I would be free but that if I didn't I would go to the detention center and it would be the end of my and my family's life.
59. These warnings were repeatedly given to me every time I tired from the questions that were being continuously hurled at me. There was no let up in the interrogation or the threats or the warnings despite their being aware of my medical condition and my state of exhaustion.
60. I had had just one small meal since my arrest early on the morning of the 14 September 1998. I had had no rest or sleep and had lost all track of time. I was sick. My interrogators did not care at all about my condition. At some point of time in the night or the early hours of the morning, shortly before they returned me to the cell, they began asking me whether I knew why I was there in their hands. I said I did not know and they would then tell me that it had to do with Anwar. When I would tell them that I was his English speech writer they would respond by saying that they knew. They would then ask me to think of my position and that I had to help them and the nation. They would tell me how.
61. I knew of nothing wrong in my status of being Anwar's speech writer and friend. They would then alternatively yell, shout or advise that my perceptions were wrong and that they would tell me how to help them and the nation.
62. They finally asked me to think of my status and that they would see me soon.
63. After hours of this rough and humiliating interrogation I was once again blindfolded and handcuffed and led back down the five flights of stairs to my cell. I was pushed in and my blindfold and handcuffs were removed.
64. I had been barely in my cell for a few minutes when the peephole opened and someone peered in and jeered at me. The person muttered abuse in Bahasa before slamming shut the peephole.
65. I did not know what time it was. I could only guess that it was well into the morning of 15 September 1998. I was exhausted. I tried to rest on the wooden platform but was unable to do so with the overhead bright light and the noise from the vent.
66. There was the loud knock on the door again and once more my number was called out and the door opened. I was already on my feet. I was asked to take my bath. Fazed out, dazed, exhausted I was led to the bathroom, my head held forcibly down. The water from the overhead pipe was cold. I had hardly started when I was told to stop and to get out. I did not even dry myself but hurriedly put on my pajama pants and the T-shirt. I forgot again to switch off the light and got yelled again because of that. I was led back to my cell, head down. My clothes were wet and uncomfortable and with the light on and the noise from the vent I could not sleep.
67. A short while later there was a knock on the door. The number calling and door opening ritual was repeated. I was asked to put my plastic bowl outside the door. I did so and a guard poured plain tea in it. A slice of white bread was placed on a grill bar in the door and I was ordered to pick it up. I carried the bowl and bread into my cell. This was my breakfast.
68. A little later my number was called out again and a man walked into my cell. He asked if I remembered him. He said he was `Mr. Nice Guy'. He said he was taking me to the Hospital.
69. My chest pains, palpitations, breathlessness and numbness in my arm had continued from the morning of 14 September right through the night's interrogation.
70. I was once again blindfolded and handcuffed and led down one or two floors. I was then put in a vehicle of some sort.
I was unable to see out and both the blindfold and handcuffs were kept on throughout the entire journey. When the van stopped someone came into the back of the vehicle and removed my blindfold and handcuffs. I saw that it was the officer calling himself `Mr. Nice Guy' who had done that. He warned me that this was a special privilege being given to me and that I was to behave myself while with the doctor. He warned me that I was under their complete surveillance all the time.
|Published 3 December 98||TOP|