Malaysia : Naked prison caning video draws fury
How did this video 'escape' from the prison?
A video has been posted on the internet since March 3 this year showing how a prisoner was caned with rotan until his skins split with blood.
Entitled: "Malaysia Caning Judicial Corporal Punishment" and captioned "This link was posted by one of our fellow leakers. Thought it was pretty good, but does anyone know what happened to cause this?", the video did not reveal the location of the prison and the time it was taken.
However, the prison grounds appear to be in Malaysia looking at the uniform worn by the officers. It also appears that those present were aware that the whole episode was being filmed.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia defended on Friday its practice of caning criminals after a disturbing video of a prison-yard caning session burst onto the Internet, reigniting criticism from lawyers and human rights advocates.
In the video, a naked man is shown strapped to an upright wooden frame, his rear exposed to a uniformed official who lifts a meter-long ratan stick above his head before bringing it down on the prisoner's buttocks, tearing the flesh with each strike.
The video, in which the moaning and shaking prisoner is struck six times, has spread quickly across the Internet, capturing headlines in the Web sites of some European newspapers and forcing the Malaysian government on to the defensive.
"The government at this stage has no plans to abolish the cane as part of punishment," Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu Ah Kiow told Reuters by telephone.
He said the video was an official recording that had been leaked onto the Internet. The video had been produced for deterrent purposes, with excerpts shown during anti-narcotic education sessions to would-be drug dealers, he added.
"This video was taken officially by us for a demonstration purpose, but it is not supposed to have the victim's face identified. Somehow somebody must have taped (copied) it."
Malaysia is not alone in caning criminals, which critics say breaches human rights norms, including the U.N. Convention Against Torture. Neighbouring Singapore also wields the ratan stick and caused a U.S. outcry 13 years ago when it caned an American teenager, Michael Fay, four times for vandalism.
But Malaysia's Bar Council, which represents about 12,000 lawyers, recently called for a ban on caning, saying the "cruel" practice was rising in Malaysia, especially on illegal immigrants after hasty hearings arranged at crammed detention centres.
"They have started imposing the caning sentence in a more rigorous way and it can affect anyone who comes in (to Malaysia) without a passport or papers, so it happens to asylum-seekers and refugees," said Latheefa Koya, of the council's Legal Aid Centre.
The government denied use of the cane was widespread against illegal immigrants and Deputy Internal Security Minister Fu said it was reserved mainly for the traffickers of illegal immigrants in addition to drug-traffickers and violent criminals.
Fu said the government also faced calls from victims of crime for the use of the cane to be maintained or even increased for some serious crimes "in view of the crime rate in Malaysia".
Crime is seen as a major electoral issue in the run-up to a possible early general election, expected early next year.
"We respect the view of the Bar Council but there are many other views from the people and also from the victims of crimes that there should be an increase (in caning)," Fu said.
View the video clip from LiveLeak here, and one from YouTube titled "Severely Caned In Malaysia " here.