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13 ISA detainees freed (Updated 7.33pm)

Updated at 7.33pm, 5 April 2009

R Kenghadharan of Hindraf waving to supporters as he was brought out of Kamunting detention centre at 1.20pm today.
Kenghadharan had been under ISA detention since December 2007 (Pic by Raj Kumar, courtesy of theSun)

TAIPING, 5 April 2009: All the 13 Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees who were freed by the government left the Kamunting detention centre here at 1.30pm today.

They left the centre in several police and Immigration Department vehicles to unknown locations.

Three foreigners — Indian national Sundaraj Vijay and two Myanmar nationals, San Khaing and Amir Hussain — were the first group to leave the centre.

The trio, who were detained in 2007, were taken out in an Immigration Department four-wheel drive vehicle at 10.45am accompanied by another car with several immigration officers inside.

The crowd who gathered at the centre’s main gateway cheered as the two-vehicle convoy made its way out, with the former detainees waving and smiling at them.

This was followed by the release of two Hindraf members — V Ganabatirau, 40, and R Kenghadharan, 40, both lawyers — at about 1.20pm.

Ganabatirau and Kenghadharan, who were detained on 13 Dec 2007, left the centre in separate vehicles, each escorted by an unmarked police car.

Their supporters applauded and shouted their names as the convoy of four vehicles made its way out of the camp, with both lawyers smiling and waving at them.

Several cars belonging to family members of both lawyers were seen following the convoy.

The ISA violates human rights because it allows for indefinite detention without trial by the state.

The remaining former detainees walked out of the camp, escorted by camp officials, towards two vans which were parked just outside the main entrance at 1.30pm.

Some of the detainees – including six members of Darul Islam and one of Jemaah Islamiah held
in connection with the Bali bombings of 2002 – leaving the centre (Pic by Raj Kumar, courtesy of theSun)

They were Darul Islam members Binsali Omar, A Artas A Burhanudin, Idris Lanama, Francis Indanan, Mohd Nazri Dollah, Pakana Selama and Mohd Arasad Patangari who were detained in 2006. Their detention order was to expire next year.

The other was Jemaah Islamiah member Wan Amin Wan Hamat who was detained in 2003. His detention order was to expire in 2011.

Police mounted tight security at the centre’s main gateway, including stationing Federal Reserve Unit personnel.

In KUALA LUMPUR, Immigration director-general Datuk Mahmood Adam said the three foreign nationals — Sundaraj, San Khaing and Amir Hussain — were still in the country.

He told Bernama that they were now being held at the Langkap immigration detention depot while waiting for their documents to be processed.

“We are still processing the documentation as well as carrying out background checks and so on,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the release of the 13 ISA detainees on Friday night after he was sworn in as premier earlier in the day.  — Bernama

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