Thursday, April 03, 2008

AG: PM did not act in 'cavalier fashion' against Hindraf 5

AG: PM did not act in 'cavalier fashion' against Hindraf 5
Andrew Ong | Apr 3, 08 2:30pm

The decision to detain five Hindraf leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was made based on information provided by the police, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail told the Federal Court today.

abdul gani patailIn his submissions, Abdul Gani dismissed the appellants’ charge that the then Internal Security Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had acted in a cavalier fashion in issuing the detention orders.

"The prime minister... had ordered their arrest (last December) upon a thorough police investigation which deemed them as a threat to national security," he said.

The Federal Court is hearing an appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision in February to reject a habeas corpus (wrongful detention) application by the five Hindraf leaders.

Abdul Gani argued that Abdullah’s affidavit in-reply during the High Court proceedings had stated that the latter had gone through the detailed facts raised during police investigations.

He added that these include claims that the appellants had through their past activities raised racial sentiments, hatred for the government and had links with terrorist organisations such as Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

PM's sworn statement

Abdul Gani also read Abdullah's sworn statement in court, which said the five could have started racial riots and linked them to LTTE.

"In pursuing their cause, Hindraf had tried to get international acknowledgement and help from the terrorist organisation LTTE with the intention of further inciting riots in this country, which has and will threaten peace and national security," the statement said.

"If not stopped and contained, this could cause racial riots on a larger scale in this country, threatening peace and national security," it added.

As such, Abdul Gani argued that Abdullah, also the prime minister, could not have acted in a “cavalier fashion” as submitted by appellant’s counsel Karpal Singh yesterday.

“There is no evidence to deny this. To say that there were no investigations and that the prime minister went on his own frolic is mere baseless conjectures,” Abdul Gani told the court.

Abdul Gani then told the country's highest court that Karpal had eluded the fact that the police had provided detailed findings on the five Hindraf leaders and that the internal security minister had the “unfettered discretion” to issue the detention orders.

Case postponed

hindraf isa detainees 141207 updatedOn Dec 13 last year, P Uthayakumar, M Manoharan, V Ganabatirau, R Kengadharan and K Vasanthakumar - dubbed as the Hindraf 5 - were detained under Section 8(1) of the Internal Security Act 1960 for two years.

Following this, the five filed a habeas corpus application to the Kuala Lumpur High Court on grounds that their detention was illegal and unconstitutional.

However, High Court judicial commissioner Zainal Azman Ab Aziz on Feb 26 ruled that the detention orders issued by Abdullah were valid.

The matter is now under review of the Federal Court three-member panel comprising of Chief Judge of Malaya Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, Arifin Zakaria and Hashim Yusoff.

The case was later postponed today as the three federal judges have to attend the funeral for former federal judge. A date for the next hearing has yet to be fixed.

Karpal is expected reply to Abdul Gani’s submission during the next hearing.

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