Singapore, Dec 6 (UNI) A Sessions court in Malayasia today denied bail to 31 ethnic Indians, believed to be supporters of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).
Shah Alam Sessions Court Judge Azimah Omar took about 20 minutes to read out her decision, saying the court had taken into account the fact that public interest precedes the interests of all the accused, the Malaysian national news agency Bernama reported.
All of them were facing a charge under Section 307 of the Penal Code, namely attempted murder, which is non-bailable except at the court's discretion.
Judge Azimah said that in considering the issue of bail, the court had to take into account several matters including whether there was a reasonable belief that the accused had committed the offence, the risks and concerns that the accused would commit a similar offence or other offences and the possibility of the accused tampering with the witnesses.
''Nevertheless, according to the law, the list is not exhaustive because other factors also have to be considered like the accused's health and public interest,'' she added.
Judge Azimah pointed out that the defence had failed to furnish clear evidence with regard to the three accused who were said to be suffering from health problems. One of the accused was said to have a kidney problem and required haemodialysis but the dialysis card submitted was not clear, while no medical records had been given to the court in respect of another accused who was said to be suffering from heart disease.
She said the 18 pictures in the form of computer images that were submitted to the court yesterday as a ground for bail were not authenticated even though the defence claimed that they were taken by a man.
''This is not an ordinary case but involves the accused who are alleged to have participated in an illegal gathering and a gathering does not involve only the accused but also the general public,'' she added.
''The gathering also involves national security and does not involve racial and religious issues and on these grounds, the Court is not allowing bail for all the accused," Bernama quoted the Judge as saying.
The Malaysian prosecutors charged 26 of them on Tuesday and five yesterday with several offences including attempted murder on a police officer during an illegal assembly organised by the group in front of the Sri Subramaniar Temple in Batu Caves on November 25, according to the report.
Hindraf organised a rally two Sundays ago to protest on the grounds that ethnic Indians were being marginalised in Malaysia.
Its leaders have also alleged about ethnic cleansing of Indians in the country.