Malaysian court upholds detention of Hindraf leaders

February 27th, 2008 - 1:06 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 27 (IANS) A Malaysian court has upheld the detention of five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders under the Internal Security Act, dismissing a plea seeking their release. The court took cognisance of an affidavit filed by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi saying the government had sufficient ground to suspect that the five had links with Sri Lankan Tamil outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Judicial commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz Tuesday said the internal security minister need not have waited for the full 60-day investigation period before signing the order banishing the five to the Kamunting detention camp.

“From the affidavits filed by the minister (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), the police and the Kamunting detention camp commandant, it is shown that the detention of the five was in order,” Zainal said before a packed courtroom, The New Straits Times reported.

Lawyers M. Manoharan, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34, P. Uthayakumar, 46, and R. Kenghadaran, 40, along with Hindraf coordinator K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, in their habeas corpus application, named the internal security minister and the Kamunting detention centre commandant as respondents.

They are seeking release and other orders deemed fit by the court following their detention since Dec 13.

Aziz also read a portion of Abdullah’s affidavit in his judgement that stated there were sufficient grounds that led the prime minister to believe that the five were active leaders involved in Hindraf, which was an unregistered body.

“Their forums and activities were racially motivated, which could lead to the Indian community hating the government.

“Hindraf sought international recognition for its struggle, seeking also the assistance of terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.”

Zainal also pointed out that a gathering on Nov 25 to hand over a memorandum to the British high commissioner was unlawful. “This showed the leaders were bent on creating public disorder,” he said.

Counsel Karpal Singh and Gobind Singh Deo appeared for the plaintiffs, while Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail appeared for the respondents.

Karpal Singh said he would be filing an appeal at the federal court next week.

Singh, who is also chairman of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), stated that Tuesday’s decision would not affect Manoharan’s candidacy in the general election sought on the DAP nomination.

Manoharan is contesting in the Kota Alam Shah state seat in Selangor.

Manoharan’s wife S. Pushpaneela said she had expected the decision adding her husband was still in good spirits.

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