Monday, December 22, 2008

Reporters without Borders (RSF) urge the release of Hindraf lawyer


20 December 2008
Hindu Activist/Lawyer Detained in Malaysia

By Pei Hu
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – International media watchdog, ,Reporters without Borders (RSF) and the Hindu community asks for the release of P. Uthayakumar, who has been detained without trial since last December. Malaysian authorities arrested Uthayakumar, a human rights lawyer for a non-profit Hindu rights organization, Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act (ISA).

Hindraf works to publicize the plight of ethnic Indian minorities who have been consistently marginalized in Malaysia. Uthayakumar pointed out that every year 1 Hindu is killed under police custody and called upon the international community to put pressure on the Malaysian government to try perpetrators in International Criminal Court. Last November, Uthayakumar posted on his website a letter he wrote to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking the Prime Minister to support a UN Security Council resolution that condemned the “persecution” of Hindu minorities in Malaysia.
After Hindraf organized a massive rally last year, where nearly 30,000 Indians marched the streets, the Internal Minister of Malaysia declared Hindraf an unlawful organization.

The Internal Minister accused Hindraf of exploiting racial issues which disrupted peace and public order and since last December five Hindraf leaders have been arrested under the ISA.
Under article 8 of the ISA, a person can be detained up to two years if he is “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia” and the detention can be extended indefinitely.

RSF said, “Uthayakumar’s detention yet again shows to what degree the ISA is used to violate the principle of free expression … by allowing someone to be arrested without charge, this law enables the government to silence its opponents. We urge the authorities to release Uthayakumar, who just used his right to free speech.”

For more information, please see:

India Post – Indian Diaspora on Malaysia Resents Ban on Hindraf – 23 November 2008
Malaysia Insider – Hindraf Adrift One Year After Mass Protest – 26 November 2008
RSF – Call for release of Hindu minority lawyer arrested a year ago under security law – 12 December 2008