Putrajaya (Malaysia), Apr.3 : The detention of five Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) leaders under the Internal Security Act (ISA) is unconstitutional, their counsel Karpal Singh has told a Federal Court here.
He said the five who were arrested on December 13 last year should have been first detained up to 60 days for investigations by the police and not sent directly to the Kamunting Detention Centre.
"This deprived them of an opportunity to exculpate themselves so that the police could recommend to the Internal Security minister not to send them to the Kamunting detention centre," the New Strait Times quoted Singh, as saying.
Instead, he said, the minister signed orders to place them in the centre for up to two years immediately after their arrest.
"The five have been deprived of their personal liberty in defiance of the law," Karpal said in his submission yesterday.
Lawyers M. Manoharan, 46, V. Ganabatirau, 34, P. Uthayakumar, 46, and R. Kenghadaran, 40, along with HINDRAF co-ordinator K. Vasantha Kumar, 34, are appealing after the writs of habeas corpus applications they had filed seeking their release and other orders were dismissed by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 29 on the grounds that their detention was lawful.
The five had named the minister and the Kamunting detention centre commandant as respondents.
Karpal said this was a test case because two detainees in earlier cases did not challenge the minister's decision to immediately hold them under preventive laws without police investigations.
He said the apex court should now clarify whether police could send preventive law detainees straight to detention centres without investigations.
He called on judges Alauddin Mohamad Sherif, Arifin Zakaria and Hashim Yusuf to act without fear or favour and exercise judicial creativity.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail will reply today.