Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hindraf Human Right defenders 2 months trail is another injustice

Hindraf: Two-month trial too taxing
Malayskini : Andrew Ong | Sep 20, 08 7:22pm

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has urged civil society and human rights groups to look into the court case where the movement’s supporters will be tried in a two-month continuous hearing.

The movement’s leader in exile P Waytha Moorthy told a press conference in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur via video conferencing, that the 27 individuals would lose their jobs during the two-month hearing.

This is a great injustice to them. They are bound to lose their jobs, face severe financial crisis and their families would suffer,” said Waytha Moorthy who is in self-imposed exile in England.

The 27 are mostly odd-job workers and labourers who were among 54 individuals jointly charged for participating in an illegal assembly on Nov 11 last year in Kuala Lumpur.

The other half of the group have since pleaded guilty and were fined RM1,000 each for the offence.

Donations sought

Hindraf legal advisor N Surendran said that initially, the trial was supposed to last two weeks but was somehow extended to two full months.

Surendran said he has spoken to some of those who had pleaded guilty and claimed that many of them took the plea to avoid being absent from work and be subsequently axed.

“You can see here the enormity of the injustice. We have 27 people who have been forced to plead guilty because of a miscarriage of justice,” he said.

Surendran also urged the attorney-general and the government to drop charges against 27 individuals who he said were exercising their democratic right to assemble peacefully.

Earlier, Waytha Moorthy also announced that Hindraf had identified a nominee account that would be used for collecting donations from the public to help the 27 individuals who pleaded guilty and settle their fines.