PUTRAJAYA, 11 Feb 2009: The five Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leaders will remain under Internal Security Act (ISA) detention for two years after the Federal Court here today dismissed their motion for a review of a previous panel’s decision denying them their freedom.
They took the case to the Federal Court as a last resort after failing to get the previous panel of the same court to release them.
In a unanimous decision, Datuk Nik Hashim Nik Ab Rahman who sat with Justices Datuk S.Augustine Paul and Datuk Zulkefli Ahmad Makinuddin ruled that the motion filed by the five was not fit for review.
Nik Hashim said the previous Federal Court panel’s decision was based on authorities in two cases — that of Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor and Tan Sri Raja Khalid — which it was entitled to do.
“Whether the decision is right or wrong, it is not for this court to determine. If we make an attempt to do so, it will lead to another appeal and we are not prepared to do so. Thus, we dismiss the motion for review,” he said.
The five Hindraf leaders are lawyers M Manoharan, 46, who is also Kota Alam Shah state assemblyperson, P Uthayakumar, 46, V Ganabatirau, 40, R Kenghadharan, 40, and former bank officer K Vasantha Kumar, 36.
They were held under the ISA on 13 Dec 2007, after being involved in street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur on 25 Nov and issuing allegedly slanderous statements against the government.
On 14 May 2008, a Federal Court panel headed by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff (now Court of Appeal President) dismissed their appeal after ruling that the order for their detention at the ISA camp in Kamunting, Taiping, by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was also the Internal Security Minister then, was lawfully executed.
On 26 Feb 2008, the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejected their application and ruled that the order for their detention issued by Abdullah on13 Dec 2007 had conformed to the law.
In their writ of habeas corpus to secure their release, the five claimed that their detention was unlawful because the grounds of detention stated in the orders were vague. They named the minister and the commandant of the detention centre as respondents.
Counsel Karpal Singh, Gcbind Singh Deo and Ram Karpal Singh represented the five, while senior federal Counsel Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamad acted for the respondents. — Bernama