Monday, October 20, 2008

Uthaya in court to face sedition trial

Mkini news

Oct 20, 08 11:42am

ISA-detained Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar is in Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court this morning for his sedition trial over a letter which he posted on a website.

The letter, addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, highlighted the alleged marginalisation of Indians in Malaysia.In the letter, Uthayakumar also sought the help of the British government to move emergency UN resolution condemning ethnic cleansing in Malaysia.The letter was dated Nov 15, 2007 and sent from Hindraf main office in Seremban.Uthayakumar, in ISA detention since Dec 13 for undertaking Hindraf activities, was charged on Dec 11. He pleaded not guilty and is out on a RM50,000 bail before he was detained under the detention-without-trial Act two days later.He was charged under Section 4 (1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 which carries a fine of not exceeding RM5,000 or a jail term not exceeding three years or both for a first offence.
Prosecution is led by deputy public prosecutor Raja Rozeela Raja Toran while N Surindran and M Manoharan represent Uthayakumar.

Commotion in court
Hearing is before Sessions judge Sabariah Othman but the trial today was preceded by a small commotion in the courtroom when the case was moved to another court, but also before the same judge.Hindraf supporters were unhappy when they were not allowed into the new courtroom. A shouting match ensued between the supporters and the police, with Uthayakumar - wearing a white shirt and a blue pants - joining in as well.He was brought from Kamunting detention centre for the trial yesterday.
A woman fainted in the ensuing disorder and was taken to a hospital in an ambulance.More than 150 Hindraf supporters had gathered at the court complex since early morning for the case.The government had banned the organisation last week for playing up sensitive issues.BN parties must speak out

On a related matter, Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy urged all BN component parties to make their stand on the banning of Hindraf and the real problems facing the ethnic Indian community."Hindraf urges component parties within BN to come out of their cocoon and speak up the truth on the real situation facing the Indians and the impact of the Umno repression on Hindraf which is causing great uneasiness amongst the people," he said in a statement today.He said that the Umno-led government "cannot go on forever silencing all legitimate voice of democracy in the unfounded and malicious allegation of national security".He said the BN component parties have a moral duty to speak up the truth in the larger national interest and to protect and uphold the rule of law.

[Full report to follow]