Thursday, April 17, 2008

Letter to WOAT, Geneva from WMP

World Organization Against Torture
OMCT International Secretariat
PO Box 218,
rue du Vieux-BillardCH-1211
Geneva 8
Phone: + 41 22 809 4939
Fax: + 41 22 809 4929

15th April 2008

Attn: Ms Alexandra

Dear Sir,
I refer to the teleconversation we had earlier today and thank you for for agreeing to see me in such short notice and for your understanding on the seriousness of the matter.
I wish to bring to your kind attention the fact that Mr.P.Uthayakumar is a Human rights Defender and a prisoner of Conscience detained by the Malaysian Government without trial since 13th December 2007 together with four others for his active involvement (legal advisor) in my movement which advocate the protection of serious violations of Human Rights involving the ethnic minority Indian community in Malaysia.
Mr.P.Uthayakumar is a diabetic and has been for the past 12 years. His medication amongst others includes Glucophage (850mg) and Diamicron. He was admitted at the Taiping General Hospital,Perak Malaysia on the 8th April 2008 for the below stated reasons:sugar level at 18.8 , being three times more than the normal level of 6. This medically, is a dangerous situation and combined with other factors can cause serious harm.Protein and Uric acid levels, also very high.For the past month or so P.Uthayakumar had not been given the above medication although it was prescribed by doctors.Mr Uthayakumar’s family members had handed the necessary medication to a prison officer Chief Inspector Ayob but they are now told those medicines “went missing”. A report was lodged to the Taiping Prisons director Mr.Yasuhimi but to no avail.Last Thursday 13/03/2008 Mr.P.Uthayakumar’s lawyer Ms Santha Devi Velusamy handed over his diabetic medication to En. Shaharam a prisons officer but Mr.Uthayakumar never received the same. A request was made in writing to the Prison Director Mr. Yasuhimi on 17/03/2008 and still to no avail. Then on 18/03/2008 Mr Uthayakumar was referred to the prison’s clinic hospital assistant (H.A.) (and not a qualified doctor) who wanted our client to take some other medication. The said H.A. informed our client that the Prisons Director Mr. Yasuhimi refuses to hand over our client’s medication to our client.
P. Uthayakumar being a diabetic is not provided with a diabetic diet. He has no choice but to consume normal meals at the prison. The food prepared at the prison is quite often ‘Malay style’ and contains high sugar. It is a known fact that the Malay community consumes large amount of sugar in their diet.He had made 6 written attempts to see the Director of Taiping Prison (Kem Tar) , about his much needed medication and diet. However the Director did not reply nor did he make any attempts to see him.
Further, attempts to provide the above medicine to P.Uthayakumar, by his lawyers and family was prohibited by the Prison authorities. On the family visit to the hospital on 07/04/08, at 9pm, P.Uthayakumar looked very fragile and weak. He was hand-cuffed to the bed despite being very ill. The family were informed that he was not on any particular diabetic diet and was still being given rice and other sugar products for meals.Mr.P.Uthayakumar was yesterday discharged prematurely despite his blood sugar level being recorded at 13.5. ( normal being 6 ) We believe this was deliberately done upon pressure by the Police and Prison authorities on doctors to discharge him.
Since being discharged and taken to Kamunting prison he was again not given medication for about 20 hours even that upon various complaints made by him.
His diet is still the same and it appears they are still serving him with food which contains high sugar level.
During his stay in Hospital Mr.Uthayakumar was informed by the doctor that there is some damage to his eyesight ( retinopathy) and his heart muscles may have been damaged but that only be confirmed after an ECO cardiogram test which is fixed on 28th April 2008. There is excessive urea and protein in his blood system and his blood pressure is still very high and despite all this he has been discharged.
There is no resident doctor or visiting doctor at the detention centre and in cases of emergency he has to be rushed to Taiping Hospital which is about an hour drive and with no modern medical facilities.
Mr.Uthayakumar’s family wishes he be taken urgently to a reputable Private Hospital on an urgent basis (they are prepared to bear the medical costs) or the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital for immediate treatment and a thorough medical check up be done to assess his medical condition.
The continuous elevated blood sugar level is continuously contributing to worsening his eye condition and the risk of silent heart attack.
This is a serious violations of Mr.Uthayakumar’s right and is deliberately done to exert torture cruel and inhumane punishment on him.
The other 4 prisoners are as follows:
Mr. M. Manoharan
Mr. R. Kengadharan
Mr. B. GanapathyRao
Mr. T. Vasanthakumar

We have also received information from the prisoners of their poor living conditions;
1. They are kept in solitary confinement for more than 16 hours a day like common criminals
2. No proper diet given according to their health conditions. At least 2 are believed to be diabetic patients. 1 is a vegetarian and he lives only on biscuits and bread.
3. Severe mental torture inflicted on them to confess for crimes they didn't commit
4. Poor sleeping conditions i.e. they are only given an inch thick mattress foam on the floor.
5. The keys to their cells are kept some distance away in the administration block leading to potential delay in assistance in event of emergencies
6. They do not have access to Television, computers or up to date books, magazines and newspapers in the resource centre
7. limited visiting rights and time with family members - they are guarded by wardens during visits
8. Poor quality of food.
9. They are denied their right to worship.
No access to temples or prayer rooms or time allocated. The family members are unable to make a formal complaint for fear that they might lose their limited visiting rights and the prisoners may be subject to unknown internal disciplinary actions.
I now write to you to urgently seek the help of Mr. Kofi Annan who is now the President of this foundation to make representations to the Malaysian Government to stop this treatment of the already defenceless Mr.Uthayakumar and the other four.I also urge your esteemed organization to immediately send a fact finding mission to Malaysia to inquire on his health condition independently and make the necessary recommendations to the Malaysian Government.
I would be presenting more details at our meeting on the 17th April 2008.Yours faithfully

P. Waytha Moorthy