The Tempinis diaries

December 12, 2007

Hindraf leader nabbed

Filed under: malaysia — Tags: , — toru @ 4:19 pm

I am really sad it has come to this.  If the government puts Uthayakumar in jail on sedition charges, this will only make him a matyr and his followers more militant.  This cannot be good for the country.

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Hindraf leader nabbed, freed on bail, nabbed again over alleged sedition

KUALA LUMPUR: In a dramatic sequence of events, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal adviser P. Uthayakumar was arrested twice over alleged seditious offences yesterday. 

At 9.20am, policemen picked him up outside a shopping mall in Bangsar and brought him to a Sessions Court at noon to face a charge of publishing a seditious letter on a website. 

 

Eight hours later, after he posted bail of RM50,000 for allegedly posting the Nov 15 letter on the Police Watch website, he was arrested again at the lobby of the Jalan Duta court complex. 

By 7pm, his lawyer M. Manoharan said Uthayakumar had been taken to the Pudu prison in connection with another sedition case. 

A group of Hindraf supporters gathered outside Pudu jail at night and held a candlelight vigil. There was heavy police presence there and part of Jalan Hang Tuah was closed. Soon after midnight, the crowd dispersed without any untoward incident.  

In the proceedings earlier in the day, Uthayakumar pleaded not guilty to a charge of publishing the alleged letter, which was addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. 

He was said to have committed the offence at Menara Mutiara Bangsar between Nov 15 and Dec 8.  

Judge Sabariah Othman ruled it was a bailable offence and considered his similar case in Klang as well as the current situation. 

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail objected to the bail, saying it was in public interest. 

He said the accused had repeated the offence. 

Gani added: “He is a lawyer and knew the meaning of the words used in the letter. He purposefully did it in a website which is accessible to everyone.” 

Gani, who led seven prosecutors, said there was another police report against Uthayakumar for sedition. “We will be charging this man again.” 

Manoharan asked the court to reject the charge, claiming it was groundless because the letter did not carry his client’s signature. 

Justice Sabariah ruled that the absence of a signature did not make the charge defective and rejected the preliminary objection by the defence. 

She set five days from Jan 7 for trial. 

Uthayakumar was among three Hindraf leaders who were charged at the Klang Sessions Court on Nov 23 for allegedly making speeches to incite hatred at a gathering in Batang Berjuntai, Selangor, on Nov 16. 

On Monday, the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the Sessions Court judge had made a mistake when, on Nov 26, she granted the three lawyers a discharge not amounting to an acquittal. 

The High Court, which set aside the lower court’s decision, ordered them to be present at the Sessions Court today for the charge to be reread to them. 

In another development, CECIL FUNG reports that a 45-year-old man was the latest to be charged for alleged participation in the unlawful Hindraf rally last month. 

According to the charge under Section 143 of the Penal Code, M. Selvanathan had allegedly “displayed criminal force against policemen who were carrying out their official duties”. 

He was accused of committing the offence between 6.30am and 9am on Nov 25 at an area near the MIDF Building in Jalan Tun Razak and the Jalan Ampang intersection. 

He was given an alternative charge, under Section 27(8) of the Police Act, which accused him of being involved in an illegal public assembly.  

Selvanathan was also charged with continuing in an illegal assembly despite having the knowledge that the assembly had been ordered to disperse.  

He claimed trial to all charges. 

Magistrate Ahmad Solihin Abd Wahid granted bail at RM3,000, which was posted. He fixed Feb 11 for a mention of the case to allow Selvanathan to appoint a lawyer.  

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