We have heard the Government's official version of how Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah died from positional asphyxia. Now thanks to the persistence of the family's quest for the truth, we have their account of the horrific abuse of a young man by sadistic prison officers of the Abu Ghraib persuasion.
On 27 September 2010, the following officers of the Prison Service were on duty at Changi Prison Complex, Institution A4:
Deputy Superintendent of Prison Lim Kwo Yin Darius (“DSP Darius”);
Deputy Superintendent of Prison Harry Yap Hong Hock (“DSP Harry”);
Assistant Superintendent of Prison Teo Chong Lian Dylan (“ASP Dylan”);
Chief Warden Daljit Singh S/O Gurbachan Singh (“CW Daljit”);
Chief Warden Rozairudin Bin Zaini (“CW Rozairudin”);
Sergeant Yen Chia Hsien (“Sgt Yen”);
Sergeant Tan Heng Chye Marcus (“Sgt Marcus”);
Sergeant Lee Fangwei Jonathan (“Sgt Jonathan”);
Corporal Anand Pereira (“Cpl Anand”); and
Corporal Robby Bin Sulaiman (“Cpl Robby”)
On that day, sometime between 7.30 am and 7.45 am, Sgt Yen commenced his morning shift duties at Changi Prison Complex, Institution A4. While in the course of carrying out his duties, Sgt Yen arrived at cell number 555 and saw Dinesh. Sgt Yen then uttered the words “Dinesh, long time never see you. Now you come back, you become a suicidal watch”.
These words were heard by Dinesh and was misunderstood by Dinesh to mean that Sgt Yen was partial against him. Dinesh asked Sgt Yen a question, the gist of which was, “Sir, you got something against me is it?” Dinesh then turned away from Sgt Yen and, as he turned away, he gestured his middle finger at Sgt Yen and uttered a vulgarity. Sgt Yen verbally reported the Incident to DSP Darius. However, no written report was lodged.
Despite the fact that Dinesh was not allowed to go to the outdoor yard, he was deliberately let out at about 9.45 am. Because of the earlier incident, as Dinesh was returning from the outdoor yard to his cell at about 10.45 am, he was accosted by Sgt Jonathan and then tackled by Sgt Yen onto the ground.
While on the ground, Sgt Yen restrained Dinesh. At this juncture, CW Daljit approached Dinesh (who was still on the ground and restrained by Sgt Yen) and attempted to lock Dinesh’s arms. DSP Darius also approached Dinesh and he restrained Dinesh’s lower limbs. Sgt Jonathan deployed the Oleoresin Capsicum Delivery System (“OCDS”) and applied the same onto Dinesh’s face. Sgt Jonathan then placed both his knees against the sides of Dinesh’s head and applied pressure. Consequently, Dinesh was unable to breathe. At the same time, Dinesh was also weakened by the OCDS. His eyes became red and there was mucus coming out from his nose. All these physical symptoms were ignored. He was then handcuffed to his back and placed in a prone position.
Subsequently, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and CW Rozairudin also approached Dinesh. Together with Sgt Yen and CW Daljit, they restrained and controlled Dinesh’s body and his movement including through the use of joint-locks to cause Dinesh to suffer pain. They were then directed to lead Dinesh to the outdoor yard. After a few steps, Dinesh was put into a prone position again on the ground. Dinesh was then lifted up and brought to the outdoor yard. Dinesh was profusely apologizing and begging for leniency from the officers but his pleas were ignored.
When Dinesh was brought to the outdoor yard, DSP Harry and DSP Darius were also there. Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. Dinesh was then drooling from his mouth. Again, this physical symptom was ignored. Dinesh was brought to stand in front of two rows of inmates and then instructed to continuously shout (each time louder than the previous) using vulgar language in Hokkien - directed at a notorious gang.
Subsequently, Dinesh was brought from the outdoor yard to a common area known as “Sally Port”. At “Sally Port”, Dinesh was again put in a prone position on the ground. While on the ground, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin.
Dinesh was then lifted up from the ground and led to Stair Core 3 (which is a staircase landing) for relocation to the Disciplinary Housing Unit (“DHU”). ASP Dylan was also at Stair Core 3. Dinesh continued to be restrained by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. Dinesh was walking unsteadily and perspiring profusely. Again, these physical symptoms were ignored.
On level 2 of Stair Core 3, Dinesh was put onto the ground again. At this juncture, Dinesh had become physically very weak. Again, this physical symptom was ignored.
Dinesh was then lifted up again and led into cell number 1 in the DHU. Sgt Marcus opened the door to DHU Cell Number 1. Inside DHU Cell Number 1, Dinesh was again put onto the floor in a prone position. While on the ground, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. ASP Dylan and DSP Darius also arrived in DHU Cell Number 1.
In DHU Cell Number 1, while on the ground in the prone position that he was put in, Dinesh was moaning softly. His eyes were closed and motionless. Again, these physical symptoms were ignored. At the same time, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin.
While in DHU Cell Number 1, one of the officers then poured water on Dinesh’s face but there was no response from him. More water was poured onto Dinesh’s face. However, there was still no response from Dinesh. DSP Darius then gave instructions to all the officers in DHU Cell Number 1 to leave the cell, leaving Dinesh unattended.
Subsequently, DSP Darius returned to DHU Cell Number 1 and was unable to detect any pulse on Dinesh. Dinesh had died.
Like the inconsistent variants in Rashomon, the two accounts are challenged by logical incompatibilities. One interpretation is certain, the final version will be motivated by factors of ego, face-saving and politics. Due to its emphasis on the subjectivity of truth and the uncertainty of factual accuracy, Rashomon has been read by some as an allegory of the defeat of Japan at the end of World War II. The Dinesh variant could well turn out to be an allegory of the defeat of a certain political party.