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Press Statement: Denial of bail to Hindraf supporters

Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, December 07 @ 01:32:21 CST

National: PoliticsPress Statement: Denial of bail to Hindraf supporters   Contributed by Ambiga Sreenevasan    Thursday, 06 December 2007, 10:29pm
There is little doubt that Article 145(3) confers upon the Attorney General a power exercisable in his discretion to institute proceedings for an offence. The power is a wide one and as in the case of any power, the wider it is, the greater is the onus to exercise it with proportionality and even-handedness.

The Malaysian Bar is therefore shocked at the Attorney-General’s decision to prosecute 31 persons (who were allegedly involved in the illegal assembly), for attempted murder. The Malaysian Bar is further disappointed at the vigorous opposition by the Attorney-General to their bail application. Their prosecution and denial of bail pending a trial, which may be years away means that persons who are innocent until proven guilty are denied their freedom. Surely, no fundamental right is more precious than the right to life and liberty enshrined in Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution. There is an impression that the denial of bail is being used as a punitive measure against those charged.

The Bar Council appeals to the authorities to exercise restraint in the treatment of our citizens who are exercising their constitutional rights. We do not condone physical violence against anyone including the police. Equally we do not condone violence to the spirit of the law that is there to protect all.

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Malaysian Bar

Call on AG to agree to bail for 31 Hindraf protestors - emergency debate in Parliament on Monday
Lim Kit Siang Friday 07/12/07
I have this morning given notice to the Parliament Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah, to move an emergency motion on Monday on the allegation by the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, that Hindraf is linked to terrorists and is canvassing for support from terrorist groups.

It will be Malaysia’s misfortune and tragedy if the government’s sole concern is to indiscriminately demonise the Hindraf leaders over their allegations of “ethnic cleansing” and genocide of Indians in Malaysia which were not the reasons for the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 and use them as excuses to completely disregard the legitimate grievances of two million Malaysian Indians at their long-standing marginalization as Malaysian citizens.

I am shocked at the Attorney-General’s role in the escalation of such “denial-and reprisal” response – belatedly charging 31 Hindraf protestors for the capital offense of attempted murder of a cop and objecting to any grant of bail, resulting for all intent and purpose of their being immediately jailed in Sungai Buloh prison indefinitely for months on end until the end of the trial.

If this is not a travesty of justice, I do not know what is!

Tan Sri Gani Patail must know that as Attorney-General, he is the chief legal officer not only of the government but for all 27 million Malaysians and he must not act in any vengeful, vindictive or bullying manner – something which he seemed to have forgotten in the past two days in his appearance in court over the prosecution of the Hindraf protestors.

I urge him to reconsider his objections to the granting of bail to the 31 protestors and to agree to their release on bail pending trial and to take the personal initiative to submit such an application to the court – or he will be doing a great injustice and disservice not only to the public image of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, but to popular support for the Barisan Nasional government.

My urgent motion for an emergency parliamentary debate on the IGP’s allegation of terrorist links of Hindraf is as follows:

“That the House gives leave to Ketua Pembangkang YB Lim Kit Siang to adjourn the House under S.O. 18 (1) to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance – the allegation by the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan that Hindraf is linked to terrorists and that Hindraf is actively canvassing for support and assistance from terrorist groups.

“The IGP alleged on Thursday that Hindraf had given a twisted and distorted picture to the international community on the status of Indians in Malaysia, but is the police chief committing the same offence in giving a twisted and distorted picture of Hindraf with its allegation about its terrorist links without furnishing any supporting evidence?

“The IGP’s allegation of Hindraf’s terrorist links without any evidence whatsoever is a matter of grave national concern as it marks the escalation of the hardline denial-and-retaliation response of the authorities to the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov. 25 as a cry of desperation for justice by two million Malaysian Indians for an end to their long-standing marginalization whether political, economic, educational, social, cultural or religious.

“Criticism of Hindraf allegations of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and genocide of Indians in Malaysia cannot be excuse or justification for the denial-and-retaliation response of the authorities, refusing to heed the cry of desperation by two million peace-loving and law-abiding Malaysian Indians for a New Deal to end their long-standing marginalization as equal Malaysian citizens or to make unsubstantiated allegations of terrorist links against Hindraf or for the harsh and belated decision by the Attorney-General to charge 31 Hindraf protestors for the capital offence of attempted murder of a policeman and objecting to the granting of bail resulting in their being held in custody in Sungai Buloh Prison indefinitely for months until the end of their trial.”

I call on MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri Samy Vellu as well as all other MIC members of the administration, whether deputy minister, parliamentary secretary or Member of Parliament, to signal their support for such an emergency parliamentary debate on Monday.



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