|Senior lawyer wants Hindraf 5 released|
|Mar 24, 08 4:09pm|
| Senior lawyer and international jurist Param Cumaraswamy today urged the government to release the five Hindu Rights Action Force leader presently being detained under the Internal Security Act.|
He said that the recent results of the general election indicated that there was no longer any justification whatsoever for the continuation of their detentions.
“The results of the general elections two weeks ago must be seen as vindicating whatever suspicions the government had against them at the time of their detention.
“The cause of Hindraf has now become part of the cause of MIC within the government and also the opposition,” he said in an open letter to the newly appointed Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar.
The five - P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and T Vasanthakumar - were detained on Dec 13 for participating in Hindraf activities that called on the government not to marginalise the Indian community.
They were immediately sent to Kamunting detention centre for two-years, to prevent them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state.
Param, a former UN special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, also said that the fact that one detainee Manoharan was elected in Kota Alam Shah should be taken as a clear message that “the electorate there do not see him as a threat to the security of the state”.
“There clearly is no longer any justification whatsoever for the continuation of their detentions,” he added.
100 days in detention
Param also reminded Syed Hamid, a former foreign minister, of his long term association with the United Nations programmes for the promotion of human rights and the rule of law and urged him to appreciate that detention without trial offends the first principle of the rule of law.
“In the interest of justice and furtherence of racial integration and harmony in the country, please review the orders and release the five and unite them with their families,” said Param.
He also said Manoharan must be allowed to serve his electorate of Kota Alam Shah effectively.
Meanwhile, Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy said that it has been 100 days since the detention of the five and urged the government to release them as well as to repeal the ISA.
He said that Hindraf supporters remembered the 100th day of detention of the five by holding prayer sessions and forums throughout the country on March 22 and 23.
He added that a protest was also organised at the San Francisco United Nations Plaza in the US on March 22.
In recent weeks various other quarters have also urged the government to release the five Hindraf leaders, including BN coalition partner Gerakan, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang and an influential Indian business group.