Five detainees linked to LTTE file habeas corpus application in bid to challenge Sosma arrest

Kenneth Tee
RSN Rayer and Ramkarpal Singh meet the relatives of the detainees at the Kuala Lumpur Courts Complex October 21, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — Five detainees arrested by the police over suspected links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have today filed a habeas corpus application to challenge their detention under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).

Representing the five detainees, DAP Legal Bureau chairman and lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said the application to seek their release was filed at the High Court here.

“Among the issues we will raise and hopefully be considered by the court is the authority’s failure to provide legal representation to the detainees within a stipulated time.

“Strict compliance of the law is necessary in every matter which deprives the liberty of the subject,” he told a press conference after filing the application here.

A habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court and request that the court to determine whether the detention is lawful.

The five detainees were named Seremban Jaya assemblyman P. Gunasekaran, Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan, S. Arivainthan, S. Chandru and V. Suresh Kumar.

All five detainees named the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, the Home Ministry, the Malaysian government, Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (E8) chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay and their respective investigating officers as respondents.

In their supporting affidavits, all five said their detentions were unlawful and that the use of Sosma was unconstitutional.

“As advised by our lawyers, the arrests by the named respondents have breached the principle of equality before the law that is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution,” they said.

When asked why the application was only filed after two weeks of detention, Ramkarpal said the legal team needed time to obtain further instructions from their clients whom they have only met once and for a limited amount of time.

“We are confident based on the reasons we have submitted we will have a good chance of succeeding in the application,” he said.

Ramkarpal was accompanied by five other members of his legal team, including Jelutong MP RSN Rayer.

The police’s invocation of Sosma for the arrests allows them to hold the suspects for infinitely renewable blocks of 28 days without trial at a time.

Gunasekaran and Saminathan were among seven suspects arrested by the police on October 10 for suspected links to the LTTE, with the others picked up in Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Perak.

Subsequently, on October 12, five more were arrested in Melaka during a day-long operation by the police.

The LTTE was a separatist group that had been active in Sri Lanka until it was officially defeated in 2009. It has been classified as a terrorist group by 32 countries including Malaysia, which did so in 2014.

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