Three HINDRAF leaders to face sedition rap

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Putrajaya (Malaysia), July 8 (ANI): Three leaders of the outlawed Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) will return to the Klang Sessions Court to face the sedition charge preferred against them in November 2007.

According to a New Strait Times report, a Court of Appeal yesterday unanimously struck out the appeal by P. Uthayakumar, 48, his brother Waytha Moorthy, 43, and V. Ganabathirau, 36, against a High Court ruling which reinstated the sedition charge.

Court of Appeal judge Hasan Lah said the appellate court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

Hasan said the court concurred with deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria that the High Court ruling was not a decision which finally disposed of the rights of the three accused persons.

"We are not competent to hear the matter because the High Court ruling is not a final order which disposed the rights of the appellants."

On November 23, 2007, the three claimed trial to inciting a crowd through their speeches in Tamil at a restaurant in Batang Berjuntai between 8.30 p.m. and 11.15 p.m. on November 16.

Four days later, the then Sessions Court judge Zunaidah Mohd Idris ruled that the charge against Uthayakumar, Waytha Moorthy and Ganabatirau was defective.

Zunaidah, who was not satisfied with the wording of the charge, instructed the prosecution to re-frame the charge.

She felt the Tamil transcript containing the alleged seditious speech should have been attached to the charge. However, only a Bahasa Malaysia translation was provided.

Zunaidah said that by looking at the charge against all three, the court could not verify whether the translation had been done properly, as to its meaning or the context.

However, the public prosecutor filed an application seeking a judicial review of the Sessions Court's decision.

On Dec 10, the High Court in Klang reinstated the charge and set aside the Sessions Court ruling.

Judicial commissioner Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim in his ruling said the purpose of the charge was to give due notice to accused persons.

He said it was for the trial court to decide whether the charges were defective after the prosecution had produced evidence in support of its case. (ANI)

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