Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cops tried to provoke me with religion, politics, arrested ex-journalist says

Zikri Kamarulzaman     Published     Updated
Former journalist Sidek Kamiso revealed the police tried to provoke him by asking about his religious beliefs and political leanings after arresting him on Monday.

This was one of the challenges he had to endure when the police came to arrest him, he said.

"They asked me whether I changed my mazhab (Islamic school of thought)... whether I voted for this party, and this and that.

"They asked all kinds of questions to rile me up," Sidek told Malaysiakini yesterday.

The police raided his house in the wee hours of Monday, for a tweet he allegedly made on PAS spiritual leader Haron Din, who died on Sept 16. The tweet was deemed insulting to Islam.
"I was completely flustered, I didn't think about that a warrant is required for a house search.

"The fact that I asked one of the officers for his ID was surprising," Sidek said, adding that the police did not explain why they were there.

The police, he said, tried to enter the room of his children, but were prevented from doing so by his wife.

'Children thought house was being robbed'

The incident startled his 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, who thought the house was being robbed, while a friend's 12-year-old son, who was sleeping over, was "shivering" throughout the ordeal.

Sidek was grilled again about his religious beliefs while being transported to an office building belonging to the police department on Jalan Semarak.

There, he was placed in an empty cell, with just a prayer mat and a bottle of water. However, he had no peace.

"I was in the cell, and they just kept vacuuming in front of the cell... I was lying down there, and they just kept doing it.

"They started doing it the moment I was put in the cell, it felt like forever, definitely more than 30 minutes."

Sidek said he was then transported to Johor Bahru, at 11.30am, and kept in handcuffs throughout the five-hour journey.

Despite the restraints, the officers transporting him were a lot nicer he said, and gave him his first meal of the day, a kaya roll, when they stopped at a gas station in Tangkak.

Once in Johor Bahru, his religious beliefs were again made an issue

'One of the officers was very harsh'

"One of the handling officers was very harsh, and lectured me about Islam for a good 10 minutes, and I just listened," he said.

His ordeal ended that same night when a magistrate rejected the application from the police to hold him in remand, and Sidek was released after having his statement recorded.

The entire incident, which took place in less than 24 hours, left him and his family shaken.
"We are going to see a psychologist on Thursday (tomorrow) to assess the situation. If it was traumatic for me, what more for the children?
"Even now I can't sleep, just slight noises will startle me. This morning our cleaner switched on the vacuum cleaner and it immediately reminded me of that episode," Sidek said.

Asked whether he would sue the police, he said he would consult his lawyer first.

He also declined to comment about the tweet in question as it was under investigation, but said that he never had any intention of offending anyone.

"I don't go out of the way to hurt people," Sidek said.

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