Thursday, October 02, 2014

Draconian Sedition law victim freed after 485 days in prison...Abolish the Sedition Act

After 485 days in prison, Uthaya has 'no regrets'

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar today walked out of prison to a hero’s welcome after 485 days of incarceration for sedition.

Some 60 Hindraf supporters, clad in the movement’s trademark orange colour, converged outside Kajang Prison in support of Uthayakumar, who was driven out in a prison van at 9.45am.
Uthayakumar alighted from the vehicle with his belongings - several bundles of court documents and books - as he was greeted in  a carnival-like atmosphere, with drumbeats and hugs from supporters.
His teary wife S Indra Devi stood in a corner with a wide smile.

"My first words are I have no regrets. In every struggle of every public cause, a price has to be paid," Uthayakumar told journalists.

His release comes amid a string of prosecutions against politicians and activists under the Sedition Act in a recent crackdown on criticism.

The Hindraf leader was sentenced to 30 months’ jail by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on June 5, 2013, after accusing Putrajaya of genocide against ethnic Indians.

The Court of Appeal on Sept 17 upheld Uthayakumar’s sentence but commuted the punishment from 30 months to 24 months.
Uthayakumar, who wore the same Hindraf T shirt when he went into prison, said the only time he cried was when his mother died.
"The only day I cried in prison was when my beloved mother Kalaivany passed away and the prison authorities had the week before refused my written application to visit her in hospital," he said.
Appearing in high spirits, a defiant Uthayakumar reiterated that he would continue his struggle against racial discrimination.

'Let me be the last one'
He also set his sights on the series of recent sedition charges, and called for an immediate stop to the prosecutions.
"From the gates of Kajang Prison, I hereby call upon Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to direct the dropping of all pending sedition charges and to forthwith repeal the Sedition Act.
"Let me be the last sedition case prisoner to walk out of Kajang Prison today, just as I was the last Internal Security Act (ISA) political prisoner to have walked out of Kamunting Prison on May 9, 2009," he said.
Uthayakumar was detained under ISA for 17 months, shortly after the Nov 25, 2007 Hindraf rally, which saw some 30,000 Indian Malaysians protesting against discrimination.
He also stressed that the Hindraf would remain apolitical, stating that the movement would not change its colours to dark blue nor light blue, in apparent reference to BN and PKR.
"We believe a change in government will make for a better Malaysia.
"Much as we like to support the opposition, we are still waiting for them to publicly declare their support for the outlawing of all the aforesaid racially discriminatory policies and practices and undoing these injustices, beginning in the three states that they are ruling," he said.
Uthayakumar also thanked his supporters as well as lawyers, former Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran and former Kota Alam Shah assemblyperson M Manoharan, who visited him every week without fail and were also present today.
"Finally, my beloved wife Indra and my daughters Puvenes and Jega, who kept the twice weekly vigil and prayed for my safety and well-being in prison," he said.

Proud to be the wife
A delighted Indra later embraced her husband, who gave her a peck on the cheek.
"I am very happy to see my husband, it's not easy, we went through a lot of depression and sadness.
"It's very hurting because when he was under ISA, I could at least hug him but here in the prison, it's all covered up in glass and we can only talk through telephone," she said.
Despite her ordeal, Indra said, she wants her husband to continue with his fight.
"I am very proud of him... I am proud to have married the man who is fighting for the Indian poor.
"The struggle will go on. I am happy and glad that he is back with the family," she said. - Malaysiakini, 3/10/2014, After 485 days in prison, Uthaya has 'no regrets'

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