Saturday, May 31, 2008

Second writ filed for release of Hindraf 5

IPOH: May 31, 2008 - NST

Lawyer Karpal Singh with fresh habeas corpus application which was filed at the Ipoh High Court yesterday seeking the release of the five Hindraf leaders being held under the Internal Security Act.

DAP chairman and veteran lawyer Karpal Singh filed a fresh habeas corpus application at the High Court yesterday for the release of the five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders.

He said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's decision to extend their detention under the Internal Security Act was "procedurally fatally flawed".

"I am not challenging the King personally. I'm challenging his decision which was based on the recommendations of the Advisory Board," he told reporters outside the High Court here.

In the joint affidavit, Karpal submitted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's decision on March 26 was null and void as the Board did not have the trappings of a judicial enquiry required by law as it only heard evidence from the five detainees but neither cross-examined them nor called the investigating officer to give evidence.

"Our unchallenged evidence ought, under the circumstances, to have been accepted by the Board," it read.

The Board had rejected Karpal's application to call the investigating officer to give evidence. It also refused to supply the notes of proceedings.

"In all likelihood, the investigating officer was called to give evidence by the Board in our absence against the elementary rules of natural justice," it read.

The five detainees are lawyers R. Kengadharan, 41, M. Manoharan, 47, V. Ganabatirau, 35, P. Uthayakumar, 47, and Hindraf co-ordinator K. Vasantha Kumar, 35.

This is the second time Karpal is filing a habeas corpus application.

The first application, filed soon after the five were arrested on Dec 13, had claimed that the Internal Security Minister acted prematurely in issuing the detention orders. It was dismissed by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 26.

The Federal Court upheld the decision on May 14.

Six days later, the five filed an application for a judicial review of the Federal Court decision.

In the second habeas corpus application, the five detainees named the Home Minister and the commandant of the Kamunting detention centre as respondents.

The Advisory Board, which convenes as an in-house proceeding at the detention centre, was to gather information to justify the detention of the five men, and present their recommendation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

"The proceedings should not be one-sided but that's what happened here," said Karpal.

The case is to be mentioned before Judicial Commissioner Ridwan Ibrahim on June 23.

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