Are you human? Group chides ex-judge, deputy minister for pests in jail idea

In a report on Thursday, national news agency Bernama cited Mohd Noor calling for a revamp of the prisons to make jail cells uncomfortable places that its inmates would hate so much that they would repent and steer clear of crime forever. — TODAY file picture
In a report on Thursday, national news agency Bernama cited Mohd Noor calling for a revamp of the prisons to make jail cells uncomfortable places that its inmates would hate so much that they would repent and steer clear of crime forever. — TODAY file picture

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — A human rights group condemned today a recent suggestion by a retired judge to infest jail cells with pests to curb the recurrence of crime, saying it was a sadistic form of justice.

The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (CENTHRA) said the idea by former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah that was supported by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed was barbaric, unconstitutional and possibly even criminal.

“Prisoners and inmates are first and foremost human beings and undergo incarceration chiefly as a form of rehabilitation, and not as part of a sadistic form of justice.

“It is thus clear that any deliberate infestation of jail cells with dirty and disease bearing rodents amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and thus constitutes a deplorable, inhuman and barbaric interference with the aforementioned rights and possibly constitutes a crime in itself pursuant to the Penal Code and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988,” the group’s chief executive Azril Mohd Amin said in a statement.

He reminded both the ex-judge and the deputy minister that such mistreatment of prisoners was no longer acceptable in the 21st-century and that civilised nations advocated rehabilitating convicts so they would not slip back easily into a life of crime.

He called on both men to apologise and retract their “disgusting” views.

In a report on Thursday, national news agency Bernama cited Mohd Noor calling for a revamp of the prisons to make jail cells uncomfortable places that its inmates would hate so much that they would repent and steer clear of crime forever.

“Some people commit crimes simply because they want to enjoy the ‘benefits’ available in the prisons.

“These prisoners do not repent. They know that going to prison means free food and sound sleep.

“It is not that I want the Prisons Department to be aggressive or beat up prisoners. The department has to make the prison an uncomfortable place so that prisoners regret committing crimes and detest going to prison.

“For example, a prison cell should have mosquitoes, rats and cockroaches that can be a bother for prisoners,” he was quoted as saying.