Thursday, December 13, 2007

ISA Easy Way Out on 5 HINDRAF Leaders; 13 Dec 07 – No Charges, Prosecution, Trial, Bail or Arguments – 2 years in Kamunting

Malaysiakini has the Breaking stories on the ISA Detention of the 5 Hindraf leaders and the related ones

Five Hindraf leaders detained under ISA; Charles Ramendran, theSUN

More Pics coming..

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 13, 2007): Five key members and leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) were detained under the tough detention-without-trial Internal Security Act (ISA) in a sweep by the federal police Special Branch (SB) today. Police said the five are lawyers P.Uthayakumar(ABOVE) , M.Manoharan (BELOW) , V.Ganapathirao and R.Kengatharan while the fifth person is Malaysian Building Society Berhad senior executive P.Vasantha Kumar.

According to a staff of his law firm, Hindraf leader lawyer P.Uthayakumar was in his Menara Mutiara office in Bangsar when about 10 policemen, one in uniform and the rest in plainclothes turned up in unmarked cars at about 2.40pm and told him that he was being detained under the ISA. Uthayakumar was told by police to leave his belongings, including his handphone before being led away to Bukit Aman.

It is learnt that Kengatharan (ABOVE) was picked up in his Petaling Jaya office at 12.30pm while Vasantha (BELOW) was roped in while having lunch in a restaurant in Brickfields.

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Ganapathirao (ABOVE) , who was ordered to report to Negri Sembilan police, is said to have been held in the state's police headquarters. The ISA allows the police to hold the five for two months (60 days). The Internal Security Minister, who is also Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, will then decide whether to extend the detention up to two years in the ISA detention centre in Kamunting, Perak. It is learnt that the SB personnel who carried out the arrests had told the five men that they were being held for their roles in Hindraf and as a preventive move to halt the group's plans to hold another massive rally soon. In a statement by Bukit Aman, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said police had launched the operation covering the Klang Valley and Seremban at 12.30pm and arrested all the five men within two hours. He said the five have been sent to the Kamunting, Taiping ISA Detention Camp, where they will be held in accordance with the detention order under Section 8 of the ISA. Musa said the roles of the four lawyers were advisers to the unregistered group called Hindraf while Vasantha was the organising secretary.

Reuters, quoting a police official who declined to be named, said Hindraf had stunned the government by bringing more than 10,000 ethnic Indians on to the streets to complain of racial discrimination. Uthayakumar, who had already been charged with sedition for alleging that Malaysia practised "ethnic cleansing" of Indians, which make up about 7% of the population. "They said they were arresting him under the ISA (Internal Security Act), but they didn't say where they were taking him," said Shantha, who answered Uthayakumar's mobile phone after news of the detentions and said she was his secretary. Abdullah, who came to power four years ago promising more transparent and open government, had said this week he would have no trouble signing a detention order to ensure public security and national stability. The Hindraf rally was one of two mass protests last month. A separate crowd of around 10,000 people had earlier turned out on the streets of the capital to demand fairer elections, amid expectations of a snap poll by March 2008. But the Indian rally, though largely peaceful, aroused deep concerns within government, and also among many ordinary Malaysians, because of the country's history of tense and sometimes explosively violent race relations.

In 2001, five people were killed and 37 wounded in riots between majority ethnic Malays and Indians which began after an Indian kicked a chair over at a Malay wedding. In 1969, hundreds were killed in rioting between Malays and ethnic Chinese. A source in the Special Branch, the police force's intelligence arm, said today that Hindraf's protests and allegations of ethnic cleansing at the hands of a Malay-dominated government had angered many Malays, who are Muslims.

Police were keeping a close watch on Malay activists and mosques, the source told Reuters. "This is a multiracial country and it takes little to upset the balance," said the source, who declined to be named. But the opposition has accused the government of using the spectre of racial violence as an excuse to crack down on peaceful dissent, noting that police were enforcing a blanket ban on all forms of anti-government protest, regardless of the issue.

"We condemn these arrests," said Lim Guan Eng, head of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP). "It is a desperate act of last resort and if the government has any evidence, it should charge them in an open court," he added. "We urge the government to seek national reconciliation, not confrontation with disaffected, marginalised and dispossessed Malaysians."

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M'sia arrests ethnic Indian acitivists under security law

'Police detained Hindraf legal adviser P. Uthayakumar and four other leaders today in an unwarranted action under the ISA,' Hindraf member S. Jayathas told reporters.

KUALA LUMPUR - FIVE leaders of Malaysian Indian activist group Hindraf were detained on Thursday under controversial internal security laws that allow for detention without trial, a spokesman said. The Internal Security Act (ISA), which human rights groups are campaigning to have abolished, is currently being used to hold more than 100 people, including about 80 alleged Islamic militants.

It is believed it has not been used against government critics since 2001, when Malaysia was under the iron grip of former premier Mahathir Mohamad who used it to quell a reform movement triggered by the arrest of his deputy Anwar Ibrahim.

'Police detained Hindraf legal adviser P. Uthayakumar and four other leaders today in an unwarranted action under the ISA,' Hindraf member S. Jayathas told reporters. Mr Jayathas said police also detained M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau and T. Vasanthakumar - prominent members of the group which enraged the government by mounting a mass anti-discrimination rally last month. 'Regardless of the arrests this struggle will move on. We have many leaders who are waiting to take over and we will not go backwards but move ahead with the fight for the rights of Indians in Malaysia,' Mr Jayathas said.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang condemned the government's move and said that if the Hindraf leaders had committed any offence they should be charged and tried in an open court. 'It is deplorable, the use of the ISA is completely indefensible,' he told reporters. 'To resort to detention without trial is a regression to the dark days of human rights violations and is something that will bring further shame to Malaysia's international image and reputation.'

Three Hindraf leaders have already been charged with sedition for speeches in which they criticised preferential treatment for Muslim Malays who make up 60 per cent of the population and control the government. Malaysia is also home to 26 per cent ethnic Chinese, who dominate business, and 8.0 percent ethnic Indians who complain they run a distant third in terms of wealth, opportunities and education. The nation has been rocked by a rare series of public protests, including one last month calling for electoral reform which drew 30,000 people. A week later 8,000 people turned out for the Hindraf rally. At both demonstrations, police used tear gas, water cannons and baton charges to disperse the crowd. The government then rolled out a crackdown on the protesters, arresting dozens and charging them with counts including attempted murder and unlawful assembly. -- AFP

December 13, 2007 11:35 AM
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December 13, 2007 19:08 PM
Five Behind Unlawful Assemblies Detained Under ISA
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- Five people who were behind the unlawful assemblies in the federal capital last month -- P. Uthayakumar,

M. Manoharan, R. Kenghadharan, V. Ganabatirau dan T. Vasanthakumar --were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) effective Thursday. Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharom told Bernama that they were detained at several locations in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan this afternoon. "They can be held for two years for sedition and also for carrying out activities that threaten national security," he said. Section 73(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960 empowers the police to arrest without a warrant and detain any individual who they believe can or has endangered security in the country for a period not exceeding 60 days. After 60 days, the Internal Security Minister can extend the detention without trial for two years or less or free the individual without referring to the courts.

On November 23, Uthayakumar, 46, Ganabatirau, 34, and another organizer of the assemblies, P. Waythamoorthy, 41, were charged in the Klang Sessions Court with uttering seditious words at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai on November 16. All three are lawyers. On November 25, the five, leading a group which they called the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindu), held an unlawful assembly in Kuala Lumpur and marched to the British High Commission????????? in Jalan Ampang to hand over a petition containing allegations that the Indian community in the country had been sidelined and accusing the Malaysian government of ethnic cleansing.

The police have been monitoring the group, which is not registered, since July 28 when it started to fan racial sentiments among the Indian community by raising hatred for and opposition against the government. The group's leaders, who comprise lawyers and senior executives of private companies, are said to have tried to gain support and assistance from "terrorist" groups as well as international assistance from India, Britain, the United States and the United Nations. Meanwhile, several supporters of the group were seen gathered in front of the main gate of the police headquarters in Bukit Aman since 4pm.

ABOVE & BELOW: The FRU Police had no problems calling on the crowd to disperse as their numbers were very large

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan, in a statement Thursday, said Uthayakumar was detained at his firm at Menara Mutiara, Bangsar, at 2.30pm.
Ganabatirau was detained at the Negeri Sembilan police headquarters at 2.10pm while Vasanthakumar, 34, a senior executive of a public listed company, was detained at a restaurant in Jalan Brickfields at 2pm. Kenghadharan, 40, a lawyer, was detained in Jalan SS2/55, Petaling Jaya, at 12.30pm and Manoharan, 46, also a lawyer, in Jalan Pantai Baru here at 1.55pm. Musa said all five had been sent to the Kamunting Detention Camp in Taiping.

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Monday hearing on bail for 31 Hindraf demonstrators

R. Surenthira Kumar and Llew-Ann Phang
SHAH ALAM (Dec 13, 2007): The High Court here today postponed to Monday (Dec 17) hearing for an application to revise a sessions court’s decision to deny bail for 31 people charged with attempted murder, causing mischief and illegal gathering. Justice Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim postponed the proceedings after Bar Council representative Ragunath Kesavan told the court Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who is prosecuting, had asked for proceedings to be adjourned pending some appeals sent to him.

ABOVE & BELOW: V.Ganapathirao & P.Uthayakumar -their last few moments with the supporters before before being taken away in the afternoon

Abdul Gani agreed (to the postponment), saying he had received two appeals so far and needed time to sort out these matters. Ragunath also got the court to direct that the 31 accused, charged with committing the offences at the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) gathering in front of the Sri Subramaniam temple in Batu Caves between 1am and 8am on Nov 25, be produced in court on Monday. On Dec 6, sessions judge Azimah Omar rejected bail for the 31 accused, aged between 18 and 54.
ABOVE & BELOW: The start of the a special pooja (prayers) for the safe release of the accused on Monday,

Later about 11.30am, Hindraf co-founder and legal adviser P. Uthayakumar came to the court grounds with 31 coconuts, 31 caged birds and camphor to perform a special pooja (prayers) for the safe release of the accused on Monday, much to the delight of accused’s family members.

ABOVE & BELOW: The special prayers were said before the 31 Birds were set free, a symbolic gesture for the 31 detained.

+ == = == == = = == =ceremony ends with the smashing of coconuts

ABOVE & BELOW: Once the fire was lighted, More Coconuts were smashed in front of the Courts

Uthayakumar told reporters Hindraf was going on a nationwide roadshow to pray for the release of the 31 on bail and to raise funds for them. “We’ve so far collected RM180,000 from the public and are targeting a total of RM600,000,” he said, adding that RM20,000 had been used to post bail for N. Gobalakrishnan who was charged in the Shah Alam sessions court yesterday for causing damage to public property during the alleged illegal assembly in Batu Caves. = == = == = =

They Don't Love The Nation, Says Abdullah

PETALING JAYA, Dec 13 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Thursday that those who defame the country overseas are people who do not love their country. "The people are also angry at those who go overseas to seek support and cook up baseless allegations.” Actually they don't love the country, they only hunger for power and don't care about what happens to the country," he told reporters after receiving a memorandum (see BELOW) from the Damai Malaysia group opposing street demonstrations in the country. Abdullah said that those who were obsessed with their views did not care about the consequences of their acts. "We are the ones who have to face everything. We have to defend the peace and well-being of the people," he said.

Damai Malaysia, a group of caring Malaysian non-governmental organisations (NGOs), submitted the five-page memorandum from 395 NGOs which jointly rejected street demonstrations and called on the government to take stern action against the culprits.Abdullah said the country had become developed and successful based on the practice of democracy which respected and upheld the law and constitution.
Malaysia still gave the people the freedom to voice their opinions, including in the mass media, he said. "If this freedom is used in an irresponsible manner, the people willsuffer," he added. He said that as a result of the recent street demonstrations, various sectors, especially the tourism and business sectors, had suffered losses. He had been informed that hotels in the Bukit Bintang area had received 10 per cent cancellations of room reservations because of these demonstrations. "If already 10 per cent of the bookings are cancelled, it's a loss to the hotels. Besides, I believe that the tour agencies and tour bus

operators have also received cancellations," he said. The memorandum submitted by Damai Malaysia coordinating chairman Mohd Saiful Adil Mohd Daud contained a declaration condemning the organisation of any street demonstrations and rejecting discussions onsensitive issues like race and religion through this means. The declaration also condemned certain parties which resort to fraud, defamation and sedition to get the support of foreign countries and powers to interfere in Malaysia's internal affairs. Among the 395 NGOs in Damai Malaysia are the Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS), Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs, Felda Youth Council Malaysia, Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia and the United Indian Welfare Organisation.

Speaking in KUANTAN later, upon his arrival for a one-day visit to Pahang, Abdullah labelled those who solicit support from outsiders as traitors and the action of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), which claimed to fight for the rights of the Indian community in Malaysia, as an attempt to destroy the country and racial unity. "This is a betrayal of our country. Was there ethnic cleansing? There was nothing about wiping out the Indians in the country," he said at a function to welcome him and his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base. Abdullah said the Barisan Nasional-led government always listened to the views of the people which were conveyed through the proper channels like the elected representatives, associations, non-governmental organisations and certain committees."We carry out development according to the wishes and aspirations of the people and we practise a policy of helping all the races," he said.

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