Martial arts fighter describes one month in Malaysian prison

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Petugas keamanan menutup sejumlah pintu sel yang berada di lantai dasar Rumah Tahanan khusus Tindak Pidana Korupsi (Tipikor) yang berada di kompleks Lapas Cipinang Klas I, Jakarta Timur, Selasa (27/4).“Fifty people per cell, just one blanket, crackers for breakfast, with porridge, and tea on occasion, or hot water. Sardines and rice for lunch and dinner, with some greens, and a bread roll, a piece of chicken to replace the sardines if you are lucky. There is no “yard”; you are locked down in your cells always.” This is the description by American Mixed Martial Arts  fighter Isamu Himura of the day-to-day life he spent in a Malaysian prison.

Originally offered a job teaching for martial arts in Malaysia, Himura was accused of “stealing someone’s equipment,” which turned out to actually be his own. Himura had said he spent all of his savings in setting up a martial arts gym in Malaysia, to which he would partly own while being a mixed martial arts instructor. A business plan gone sour, he stated he “wasn’t paid in five months” for his teaching services by business partner and President of the Malaysian MMA Federation, Suraya Khan.

“The police can arrest you for any reason they see fit, and hold you to 14 days in jail, without charging you with anything, while they “investigate”… Malaysian Police can arrest you based on how they feel, even before they have a case,” Himura said.

He would describe sleeping conditions as “awful”, saying that guards would only give “one blanket” that was shared among “10’s and 20’s of other [people] all around you” and that “toilets were overflowing”.

Isamu Himura
Isamu Himura

Malaysia’s judicial system is largely influenced by the British Common Law, and is mostly untouched by outside political interference. Himura went on to describe that the US Embassy in Malaysia was horrid, “they just ask you if you were being beaten or not, and contact your family. They don’t do anything, or really help you.”

Himura would later get of prison by paying “the police fine of $3000”, saying that he would never visit Malaysia again, unless he had “very, very good reason [to].”

Approximately 9,757 prisoners serving jail sentences in Malaysia are foreign, an estimated 27 per cent of the total 36,782 prison inmates nationwide. Malaysia is ranked number one in the amount of jails it has in its country, at an estimated 26,294, compared to the US, which is ranked number five with 1,558.

Malaysia’s prosecutors are being pushed into the limelight, arresting student activists with sedition, foreign journalists and detaining three anti-government protestors who questioned the results of the country’s May 5th ballot turnout.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Fifty people per cell, just one blanket, crackers for breakfast, with porridge, and tea on occasion, or hot water. Sardines and rice for lunch and dinner, with some greens, and a bread roll, a piece of chicken to replace the sardines if you are lucky. There is no “yard”; you are locked down in your cells always.” This is the description by American Mixed Martial Arts  fighter Isamu Himura of the day-to-day life he spent in a Malaysian prison.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Petugas keamanan menutup sejumlah pintu sel yang berada di lantai dasar Rumah Tahanan khusus Tindak Pidana Korupsi (Tipikor) yang berada di kompleks Lapas Cipinang Klas I, Jakarta Timur, Selasa (27/4).“Fifty people per cell, just one blanket, crackers for breakfast, with porridge, and tea on occasion, or hot water. Sardines and rice for lunch and dinner, with some greens, and a bread roll, a piece of chicken to replace the sardines if you are lucky. There is no “yard”; you are locked down in your cells always.” This is the description by American Mixed Martial Arts  fighter Isamu Himura of the day-to-day life he spent in a Malaysian prison.

Originally offered a job teaching for martial arts in Malaysia, Himura was accused of “stealing someone’s equipment,” which turned out to actually be his own. Himura had said he spent all of his savings in setting up a martial arts gym in Malaysia, to which he would partly own while being a mixed martial arts instructor. A business plan gone sour, he stated he “wasn’t paid in five months” for his teaching services by business partner and President of the Malaysian MMA Federation, Suraya Khan.

“The police can arrest you for any reason they see fit, and hold you to 14 days in jail, without charging you with anything, while they “investigate”… Malaysian Police can arrest you based on how they feel, even before they have a case,” Himura said.

He would describe sleeping conditions as “awful”, saying that guards would only give “one blanket” that was shared among “10’s and 20’s of other [people] all around you” and that “toilets were overflowing”.

Isamu Himura
Isamu Himura

Malaysia’s judicial system is largely influenced by the British Common Law, and is mostly untouched by outside political interference. Himura went on to describe that the US Embassy in Malaysia was horrid, “they just ask you if you were being beaten or not, and contact your family. They don’t do anything, or really help you.”

Himura would later get of prison by paying “the police fine of $3000”, saying that he would never visit Malaysia again, unless he had “very, very good reason [to].”

Approximately 9,757 prisoners serving jail sentences in Malaysia are foreign, an estimated 27 per cent of the total 36,782 prison inmates nationwide. Malaysia is ranked number one in the amount of jails it has in its country, at an estimated 26,294, compared to the US, which is ranked number five with 1,558.

Malaysia’s prosecutors are being pushed into the limelight, arresting student activists with sedition, foreign journalists and detaining three anti-government protestors who questioned the results of the country’s May 5th ballot turnout.

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