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Friday, September 23, 2011

'I was nearly raped in prison'

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:08 PM | | | Best Blogger Tips

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I was nearly raped while serving time in prison for match fixing in Singapore.
This is just one of a number of shocking claims by former Sembawang Rangers and Geylang United FC goalkeeper Lutz Pfannenstiel.
He also alleges that he was physically abused by prison inmates and had his nose broken at least twice, and that Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) officers had assaulted him during questioning.
Mr Pfannenstiel, 38, told UK football magazine Four Four Two that in 2001, he was nearly raped by other inmates during his 101-day stay at the Queenstown Remand Prison.

In 2008, the German national became the only footballer to have played more than 400 games on six continents for 25 different clubs.
He claimed that during 48 hours of detention, he was interrogated like a "hardened criminal" by CPIB officers who slapped him and kept him naked in a cold cell.
When contacted by The New Paper on Monday, CPIB and the Singapore Prison Service strongly refuted these allegations.
A CPIB spokesman called Mr Pfannenstiel's allegations "baseless and unfounded", adding that the "CPIB officers had conducted themselves professionally" during investigations.
The Prison Service was just as surprised with the claims.
Said its spokesman: "Throughout his time in prison, Mr Pfannenstiel did not lodge any complaints to the authorities, even though he had many opportunities to do so.
"Mr Pfannenstiel, like all inmates, was checked daily by our officers, and any sign of injuries would have been noticed and referred to our doctors."
His medical records did not reflect such injuries, much less a broken nose, the spokesman added. When contacted, one of Mr Pfannenstiel's then lawyers, Mr Suppiah Krishnamurthi, said he could not recollect if the latter had raised the alleged abuse by CPIB officers.
But Mr Krishnamurthi added: "If there had been any form of allegations, we would have challenged his statements (during the trial).
"There was no trial within a trial to challenge the validity of his statements."
When TNP spoke to Mr Pfannenstiel last week, he maintained his allegations, but said he has moved on.
He said his time behind bars inspired him to pursue his football career with a vengeance and to make a difference to society.
"The time I spent in prison was so tough that it completely changed me," he said in a phone interview.
"I had always enjoyed my life as a football player - the parties, the cars and the girls. But (in prison) a lot of things became more important to me."
He claimed that being placed in a cell with people charged with murder and rape forced him to toughen up quickly. The constant bullying made him angry.
He told Four Four Two: "I was never a fighter before, but for the next 10 days I beat... anyone who crossed me. Eventually, they began to leave me be."
Mr Pfannenstiel, who played in Germany's Under-17 team in 1989, is now head of international relations and scouting for German Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.
'I'm innocent'
He was playing for Geylang United in 2000 when he was charged, but he still insists he is innocent. He claimed that a man had approached him at a petrol station and asked him how Geylang United would fare in their next match. (See report on facing page.)
"I didn't know he was a bookie, and when anybody asks if we were going to win, I would say we would. Geylang was a good team. We normally win," he said.
He said he did not hold a grudge against the bookie or Singapore.

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