(Malaysiakini) The Human Rights Party today said that it has formulated a legal strategy to force the government to drop the charges against 53 of its national and grassroots leaders.
"We are preparing a legal strategy to file in the KL High Court. I don't want to reveal too much about it but we are asking the court to declare the 53 charges of taking part in an activity organised by an illegal organisation as ultra vires Article 10 of the constitution," said HRP secretary-general P Uthayakumar at a press conference at the party headquarters in Bangsar.
Article 10 of the federal constitution provides for the freedom of association.
Uthayakumar also questioned the arrest under section 43(5) of the Societies Act for participating in an illegal society, contending that Hindraf has already submitted an application with the Registrar of Societies.
"We submitted our application. It is they who denied it. If at all Hindraf is illegal, then so is Umno because Umno was declared illegal in the 1987 crisis. It is only Umno Baru that is not illegal."
However, he points out, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak calls himself the president of Umno, not Umno Baru.
He argued that under Article 8 of the constitution, all citizens are guaranteed equal treatment and protection under the law.
"If they arrest us, they should also arrest the PM and Umno ministers," contended Uthayakumar who maintains that Umno is an illegal organisation.
Uthayakumar was referring to 53 HRP leaders who are being charged with participating in an activity organised by an illegal organisation.
The 53 were charged during the course of the last two weeks.
He said that the total bail required by the court thus far is RM111,000. While HRP has collected RM18,870 in donations from the public, the party appeals for more help to alleviate the costs, said Uthayakumar.