Thursday, December 13, 2007

ISA invoked: 5 Hindraf leaders detained

I was one of the co-counsels assisting Sdr M. Manoharan defending Uthayakumar who was charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on 11.12.2007 for publishing seditious statement in a website when Attorney General, Tan Sri Gani Patail, urged the court not to allow bail.
We had a heated argument and I submitted that if Uthayakumar were to be a threat to the national security, the AG would have advised the minister concerned to arrest him under the Internal Security Act (ISA). I further submitted that by the AG requesting that no bail should be allowed and that if the court accepted his submission, it would give the public an impression that the AG was using the court to indirectly exercising the power under the ISA to detain Uthayakumar.

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister had signed the detention order under the ISA to detain M.Manoharan, the lead counsel for Uthayakumar, Uthayakumar himself and 3 others. I wonder whether I am also on the list.

The Star reports today:-

Five Hindraf leaders detained under ISA (2nd update)
PETALING JAYA: Five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders have been arrested and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
The five are P. Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar. They were picked up at various locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.
It is learnt they were detained under Section 8 (1) of the ISA after Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdulah Ahmad Badawi signed their detention order.
Their detention is for two years.
Uthayakumar and two others namely Ganabatirau and P. Waythamoorthy were charged under the Sedition Act on Nov 23 in Klang 23 for allegedly making speeches to incite hatred at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, on Nov 16. Waythamoorthy is currently overseas.
Under Section 73 (1) of the ISA, the police can detain any individual for up to 60 days without a warrant, trial and without access to legal counsel if he was suspected to have “acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."
After 60 days, the Minister of Home Affairs can extend the period of detention without trial for up to two years, without submitting any evidence for review by the courts, by issuing a detention order, which is renewable indefinitely.