KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13: Pakatan Rakyat leaders have slammed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for dismissing allegations that the son of Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the country’s top blogger, had been tortured while under remand, and instructing police to commence investigations against him for attempted suicide.
Hishammuddin had a day ago said that he had already instructed the Prisons Department to lodge a report so that a full-scale police probe could be launched. However, according to Raja Petra, the police are not investigating the torture allegations against the prison authorities but whether his son had tried to committed suicide - an offense punishable by imprisonment.
“In fairness to all parties involved, I would urge Malaysians not to accept the words of our Home Minister at face value. Who gave Raja Azman the razor blade, how come he had a hand phone while in prison,” Badrul Hisham Shaharin, PKR supreme council member, told Harakahdaily.
“There have been too many cases of abuse and even deaths under government custody. Remember the police also initially denied Kugan Ananthan had been tortured to death. Now they admit one of their black sheep officers was involved.”
Holding RPK to ransom
Raja Azman, the 34-year second son of Raja Petra, was in remand at the Sungai Buloh prison on suspicion of theft. News had leaked earlier in the week that he had to be rushed to hospital with injuries on his wrist and may have been forced to swallowed a razor blade.
He has since confirmed to his lawyers that he was beaten by prison guards with a metal rod for possessing a hand-phone. He also said he could not tolerate the physical and mental torture anymore and had swallowed a razor blade, which is still lodged inside his stomach.
The revelations sparked a huge outcry that Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government was torturing Raja Azman to get back at his father.
Raja Petra, the editor of the popular Malaysia Today news portal, has long been a thorn in the flesh of the ruling Umno-BN government. He has frequently exposed misconduct and corruption at the highest echelon in the administration and within Umno, the biggest political party.
One of his biggest bombshells involved Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor and their alleged links to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.
Forced to flee the country because of his ‘hot’ news, Raja Petra is now afraid the government may be trying to hold him to ransom by convicting his son for attempted suicide. In a bid to shut him up, the authorities have already launched a global manhunt to extradite him for sedition charges.
“The police, however, are investigating his ‘attempted suicide’, which is a crime. This means they can charge him and, if found guilty (which would be easy to do), he can be sent to jail,” Raja Petra wrote in his blog.
“He is already in jail, although merely under remand while awaiting trial. Now he can be kept in jail to serve a sentence for the crime of attempted suicide as well. So the issue of bail may be academic after all. If my son is convicted of attempted suicide the issue of bail no longer applies.”
Proper medical care and undue delay
Raja Azman's lawyers plan to refer the case to Suhakam, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.
Raja Azman had in May 2009 pleaded guilty at the Magistrates Court to four separate counts of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass. He was then unrepresented and a month later changed his plea to 'not guilty' after his family secured legal counsel for him.
“We do not understand the delay in his case. Why has he been under remand for so long,” asked PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub."We hope the authorities will extend to him due and proper medical care while they carry out their probe."