September 23, 2008

RPK detained for 2 years without trial

A hearing on the writ of habeas corpus filed by Raja Petra's lawyers was initially scheduled for Friday 26 September but was inexplicably brought forward to 9.00 a.m today, 23 September. But before the hearing could proceed RPK was sent to the Kamunting detention centre this morning for a two-year detention without trial!

The Home Minister, Syed Hamid Albar signed the two-year detention order last night which clearly is meant to frustrate the habeas corpus hearing and to prevent the possibility that RPK may be freed after the hearing.

The action of the Home Minister has outraged many Malaysians who view this as a blatant abuse of the ISA to silence dissenting voices.

Raja Petra sent to Kamunting
Sep 23, 2008 - Malaysiakini

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was sent to the Kamunting Detention Centre in Taiping, Perak, this morning to begin his two-year detention without trial under the Internal Security Act.

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar last night signed the detention order for the blogger to be held under section 8(1) of the tough security law. Under the Act, the initial two-year detention period can be renewed indefinitely.

According to journalists stationed outside the Kamunting detention camp, Raja Petra arrived at 11.50am in a white van with heavily-tinted windows.

"The act by the minister to sign the section 8 order yesterday is completely unacceptable," said Raja Petra's lead lawyer Malik Imtiaz.

The legal team believes the minister’s decision was linked to a habeas corpus hearing in the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning, which had been filed by Raja Petra's lawyers to secure his release.

(A writ of habeas corpus orders the authorities to produce prisoners before a judge to ascertain if there are any procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful.)

Speaking to reporters later, Malik said “the arrest was issued last night to avoid the consequences of this habeas corpus”.

Also present in the court was former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim, who sat next to Marina.

“He (Raja Petra) writes well, he speaks his mind and we need more people like him said Zaid (left in photo), who had resigned to protest the use of the ISA to detain Raja Petra and two others on Sept 12.

Zaid said he attended the hearing to show support for the wives of many others being held under the restrictive law.

“We should encourage people to speak out. If (those detained) have done wrong (then) we (should) charge them (in court),” he said.

Zaid also said that freedom of expression and of speech are important values and that “we cannot intimidate with fear”.


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8 March 2008

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