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Hindraf adviser's third freedom bid rejected by Malaysian court

Asia, Thu, 13 Nov 2008 IANS

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 13 (IANS) The Kuala Lumpur High Court has rejected Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) adviser M. Manoharan's third attempt to free himself from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA), holding that his confinement was lawful.


The court dismissed his habeas corpus application Wednesday, saying the grounds cited by the ethnic Indian lawyer did not fall under its ambit, the New Straits Times reported.



Manoharan, who is also a legislator from Kota Alam Shah in Selangor state and legal adviser to the outlawed Hindraf, had made the application in August, contesting the validity of the detention order signed by the home minister.



He named the minister and the Kamunting detention centre superintendent as respondents.



Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah said: 'Our law only allows me to inquire if there was procedural non-compliance in the detention. After going through the affidavit, I agree with the counsel (deputy public prosecutor Abdul Wahab Muhammad) that the reasons do not fall within the ambit of habeas corpus. I have no choice but to allow the objections by the respondents.'



Muhamad had argued that Manoharan's contention that he was an elected representative of the people and he had not committed any act which was a threat to national security had no connection with the legality of his detention.



Manoharan, along with four other Hindraf leaders - R. Kengadharan, 41, P. Uthayakumar, 48, V. Ganabatirau, 35, and Hindraf coordinator K. Vasantha Kumar, 35 - had filed applications at the Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh high courts after their detention last year.



Both applications were dismissed by the high courts and the Federal Court this year.



Hindraf's registration was refused last month and the organisation was thus declared illegal. It has been in the eye of a political storm since it staged a protest a year ago to highlight the perceived discrimination in jobs and education of Malaysia's estimated 2.6 million ethnic Indians. A bulk of them are Tamil Hindus - for whom Hindraf claims to speak - who came here during the British era.



Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi's government has not heeded appeals for the release of the 'Hindraf-5' saying they sought to disturb the delicate ethnic balance in Malaysia that has majority Muslim Malays, 33 percent Chinese and eight percent Indians.



The government has also alleged that Hindraf has 'terror connection' with Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which Hindraf denies.


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