Kuala Lumpur, May 15:
Alleged members of an Al Qaeda-linked extremist group jailed in Malaysia were routinely stripped naked, slapped, kicked and subjected to sexual abuse by police interrogators, according to a human rights document obtained by The Associated Press. Security officials have said the questioning produced information about plots by Jemaah Islamiyah to bomb US and other Western interests in Singapore and other extremist operations in Southeast Asia. Information also was gained about Malaysiaâ€™s role as a meeting point for senior Al Qaeda operatives involved in the September 11 attacks, the officials said. Malaysia routinely shares intelligence about Jemaah Islamiyah with Washington and in 2002 let the FBI question a key Al Qaeda suspect at a prison camp. There has been no allegation the FBI was involved in any abuses in Malaysia, although some rights activists have questioned whether the US government turns a blind eye to mistreatment of terror suspects by its allies in exchange for information. The abuse allegations are contained in a report seen by The Associated Press this week.
The report was compiled by independent activists from prisoner complaints and handed to the governmentâ€™s Human Rights Commission. The commission said it did not investigate the claims and only forwarded the document to police officials, who have repeatedly denied condoning mistreatment of prisoners. Unlike the scandal involving abuses at US detention camps in Iraq, there is no independent corroboration of the Malaysian charges such as photographs or testimony from non-detainee witnesses.