Malaysian youth camp turns out to be prison
Aug 3, 2011, 4:36 GMT
Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian officials were investigating claims by 33 teenage boys that they were beaten by guards at a camp designed to motivate youngsters to be law-abiding citizens by giving them a glimpse into prison life, officials said Wednesday.
The boys claimed they were told that they were attending a three-day motivational camp, but were shocked when they were instead brought to a prison in the southern Malaysian state of Johor last weekend.
The students were allegedly handcuffed and beaten by prison guards, who they claimed also shaved the boys' heads and forced them to strip down to their undergarments.
They also claimed that three teachers accompanying the students did nothing to stop the alleged abuse.
Prison authorities denied the allegations and defended the camp as an effective deterrent from a life of crime.
Camp director Sharil Basir said the programme was well received by earlier participants as it gave teenage boys the opportunity to 'experience first-hand life as a prisoner.'
The education department said it would investigate the claims of abuse, and has set up a meeting between the students' parents and prison officials Wednesday, a spokesman said.