Beh Lih Yi (Malaysiakini)
Dec 4, 07
Twenty-six Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) supporters were charged with attempted murder and causing damage to public property during the mass rally in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.
Contacted by Malaysiakini, their lawyers said the men were charged before Judge Azimah Omar at the Shah Alam Sessions Court this afternoon.
Out of the 26, 15 were charged at the Selayang Sessions Court last week for allegedly taking part in an illegal gathering under Section 27 of the Police Act and Section 141 of the Penal Code. They were subsequently released on bail.
Today, they were charged under Section 307 of the Penal Code for alleged attempted murder and causing mischief while taking part in an unlawful assembly or riot under Section 440 of the same code.
The remaining 11, who were in the dock for the first time, were also slapped with four charges like the rest.
“The protesters were alleged to have caused damages to some of the properties at the Batu Caves temple, including the front-gates and cars,” said lawyer Rajpal Singh from the legal team representing the accused.
The protesters were also alleged to have attempted to murder a Malay individual, who was named in the charge sheet and is believed to be a police personnel.
According to Rajpal, who is also the Selangor Bar’s legal aid centre chairperson, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail who appeared for the prosecution objected to granting bail to the accused.
The court has yet to make a decision on this as the case was adjourned to tomorrow morning to allow Abdul Gani to make the submission, said another defence lawyer M Manoharan. “The group will be remanded until tomorrow morning,” he added.
Manoharan – who is also a key leader in Hindraf – said the latest development showed that the alleged “victimisation and prosecution against Malaysian Indians has started again”.
Under Section 307 of the Penal Code, the accused, upon conviction, are liable to a maximum of 20 years jail if hurt is caused. While under Section 440, they could face up to five years’ jail and a fine.
They are also liable to a jail sentence of up to a year and maximum RM10,000 fine for the illegal gathering charge.
About 30,000 people – mostly Indians – took to the streets on Nov 25 to participate in the Hindraf rally.
The police, which had denied a permit for the rally, used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Bersih group fails to turn up
In an unrelated development, 10 protestors at the Nov 10 rally organised by polls reform group Bersih who were expected to be charged today did not show up in court.
According to their lawyer Zulqarnain Lukman, the 10 were told earlier to report back to the police station on Dec 10 and this was stated in their bail.
However, a police officer called them on Sunday and told them to come to the police station today as they could be charged for illegal gathering at the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate’s Court.
“The group decided not to go since they were informally informed and they will stick to Dec 10 to report to the police station,” said Zulqarnain.
Attempted murder charge for Hindraf protestors
Beh Lih Yi (Malaysiakini)