Home 2008: 7 First time to Kamunting Detention Centre

First time to Kamunting Detention Centre

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I promised Pet that I would do everything I possibly could with the help of the people to get him released and I would stay strong and tough to keep that promise, recalls Marina Lee Abdullah.

This morning (24 September 2008) my family and I went to Kamunting to visit Pet. This being our first time there, we left home at 6.00am just to make sure we didn’t miss the scheduled time allowed: 8.30am to 2.00pm and the family is allowed weekly visits from Monday to Wednesday, Friday to Sunday. We brought some food, fruits, drinks, one pair of jeans, T-shirt and his glasses.

When we reached the gates of the Kamunting Detention Centre, we had to register at the gates and proceeded into the prison area, a huge area. There we had to go through another gate and had to deposit all our belongings in two lockers. We went through a door and were told to go to counter 10. When we approached counter 10, there was this partition with no grille or glass; Pet was already sitting there waiting for us.

My first reaction was to run and give him a real big hug and kiss; at the same time my heart felt so heavy, seeing this hero of mine on the other side.

Pet was sitting down and wearing white prison clothes. He had lost weight, looked very pale, probably after not seeing sunlight for almost two weeks now; his beard and hair are growing longer.

At that point, I had tears in my eyes but was trying really hard to hold back my tears. I really did not want him to see me cry; that would only make it really hard for him. I reached out to hold and rub his hands and did not let go for a minute.

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He was glad to see us because the last time we saw him was eight days ago at Bukit Aman.

I asked him how he was coping, and he said it was hard being under solitary confinement and it is for three months, and after that only would he be able to interact with the other detainees. He will be moved into a dormitory where he will get to watch television and read newspapers, New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia.

He said he had three ustaz (religious teachers) visit him this morning, questioning him about his religious knowledge and beliefs. The questioning was cut short because of the family visit and would continue in the afternoon.

I told him to please be strong and don’t let them get to him. I said “Honey they have got your body but not your mind and soul; hang in there, love, we’re coming to get you. The Pakatan Rakyat is on track to take over the government. Just give us a bit more time, okay?”

 I told him that this time around there is a difference in the use of ISA and that he had made that difference. There is tremendous outcry against the use of the ISA and (even among the) political parties within the Barisan Nasional; Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the law minister, had even resigned (because of) the use of the ISA; the thousands of well wishers and the support I have received. People all over are praying and standing behind us in this struggle for change that he has started.

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I promised Pet that I would do everything I possibly could with the help of the people to get him released and I would stay strong and tough to keep that promise. I will not fail him.

He told me that word was out at the detention centre that RPK was there, and some of them managed to shout out to him across the brick wall telling him that they just saw him and his wife on TV. They were also trying to comfort him.

At one point, I told him that I really needed to hug (him) and that I missed him so much and was reaching out to do that.

But he said he was not allowed to because there were two prison officers watching us and they were noting down everything, and there were merits points given or taken away.

I said “What’s that?”

He said that there were certain rules for our visit and if he break the rules, visitation rights could be reduced and so on.

I asked him, “You mean to say that giving you a hug is breaking the rules?”

He said hugging was considered “kelakuan tak senonoh”,  improper or unbecoming behavior.

I just could not believe it.

He then said that the first visit was the only time we would be able to meet face to face and that subsequent visits would be through a screen and we would have to talk over the phone. This would be for nine months and of course with good behavior from him. They go on merits, he said, like kindergarten: if you have behaved, you get a candy.

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He told me that he is being detained on four grounds:
•    two articles on Islam
•    the article on “Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell”
•    articles on the leaders
•    comments posted on the blog: one of the comments he mentioned was by ‘Anti Anti-Hadith’, who Pet mentioned had his own blog.

By then we were given the ‘last five minutes’ call, I then told him, “Luv, please trust me, we will get you out!”

Dear readers, Thank you so much for the well wishes that my family and I have received from all of you. I will stay strong with your help and support to take on this fight for change which my husband has left off until he is FREED.

Lots of love from my family and me.

Source: Malaysia Today

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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