Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Uthayakumar refuses 'secret date' with heart institute

Mkini -S Pathmawathy May 14, 08 3:30pm

Detained Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) legal adviser P Uthayakumar is “being pressured to secretly undergo treatment” at the National Heart Institute, claimed his brother Waytha Moorthy.

In a statement issued from London, where he is living in self-imposed exile, Waytha Moorthy said his brother is being compelled to do so without his family members being informed.“Uthayakumar fears for his life and does not wish to be treated without the presence and knowledge of his family members at the National Heart Institute,” he wrote.Uthayakumar is one of five Hindraf leaders being detained for two years at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping, Perak.

They were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) on Dec 13 last year, which allows for detention without trial.A diabetic for 12 years, Uthayakumar is said to have developed a heart ailment. He has been admitted twice to the Taiping hospital, in January after a hunger strike and again from April 7-10.

Waytha Moorthy, who is Hindraf chairperson, alleged that the “prison director and other government officers” have been applying pressure on Uthayakumar.“He has written to the prison director, requesting (that) his family be informed and for access to his lawyers while in hospital.

His lawyer (N Surendran) had also written to the prison director on Uthayakumar’s requests.“We are puzzled why the prison director is compelling him to undergo secret treatment and is threatening to lodge a police report against Uthayakumar for wilfully refusing treatment.

(This is) still a democratic country and there should be transparency and openness (about) his treatment.”Urging Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to look into the situation, Waytha Moorthy also posed the query if a “silent agenda” is involved.‘He’s no terrorist’Contacted today, Surendran said some irregularities were detected during Uthayakumar’s last visit to Taiping Hospital and “there may be some damage to his heart”.“He wants to go as soon as possible because he is anxious about his health but he wants his family there because he is worried as to whether major procedures will be involved,” said Surendran. “They refuse to tell us when they (intend to) take him, saying that this must be kept secret for security purposes. “What is there a need for security? He is no terrorist.

This is an excuse to traumatise the family and make things as difficult as possible for him.”Hindraf supporters have held rallies demanding the release of their leaders, as well as access to medical attention for Uthayakumar