Malaysian Indian loses court appeal over LTTE link charge

March 10th, 2011 - 3:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Hindraf Kuala Lumpur, March 10 (IANS) A Malaysian Indian activist accused of having links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has lost his defamation appeal before a court.

One of the three judges dissented and ruled that P. Uthayakumar, legal advisor to the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), had indeed been named as having links with the LTTE in a media report Dec 15, 2007. The accusation had been credited to then police chief, Musa Hassan.

The Court of Appeal struck out Uthayakumar’s civil defamation suit against Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Hassan and the government.

The three-member bench made the majority decision on the grounds that several alleged defamatory news articles Dec 7, 2007 quoting Hassan and Patail did not name Uthayakumar as having links to the LTTE.

Uthayakumar and four others were arrested under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA) on suspicion of having links to LTTE after they led a mass protest November 25, 2007 in Kuala Lumpur.

Lead Court of Appeal judge K.N. Segara said there was “no reasonable cause of action” as the articles had only named Hindraf and not Uthayakumar and the four others who were detained for more than a year over their alleged links to LTTE.

He added that Hindraf had been outlawed after the 2007 protest march and had no locus standi to file such a civil suit.

The third member of the bench Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim agreed with Segara.

The sole dissension came from Judge Mohammed Hishamudin Mohammed Yunus who said the “plaintiff should be given the opportunity to have his day in the High Court”.

“This is obviously and plainly sustainable,” he said, adding that a news article published Dec 15, 2007, had indeed quoted Musa as alleging that Uthayakumar and the other four had links to LTTE.

The dismissal was announced with RM20,000 ($6,800) in costs to the plaintiffs.

The defendants brought the case to the Court of Appeal after the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejected their application to strike out the suit April 8, 2009.

Critical of the government and the established political parties, Hindraf claims to speak for the Hindus who form a bulk of the 2.1 million ethnic Indian population.

The LTTE is banned in several countries across the world and lost a military campaign in Sri Lanka that ended with the killing of its leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.

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