Sunday, December 16, 2007

Who are the Hindraf 31?

Having the power to choose when to charge someone and when not to, and to charge under what section and for what offence is a very BIG power, which has to be exercised HONESTLY, reasonably AND JUSTLY, not affected by any past, present or future consideration save the facts and evidence available before him.

Like the JUDICIARY, the Public Prosecutor (Attorney General) need to be independent - and not behave like an agent and/or an arm of the executive.

31 persons charged for 'attempted murder'. I see this as being a case of a charge being made with 'bad intentions" and meant possibly to SCARE other persons into not participating in future peaceful assemblies and protest. You cannot do this to these 31 persons - by this unreasonable charge of "attempted murder" and also the denial of "bail" (meaning they will have to languish in remand prison until their trial is over).

SENTENCES can be used as a deter ant - and that is only after a person is found guilty. Charging a person of committing an offence which carries a high penalty, or the imposition of a high Bail amount (or no Bail as in this case) are not things that you can or should use as deterrents. Let us not forget that a person is presumed innocent until he is proven guilty. That means all these 31 persons are at present INNOCENT and should be treated as such....

Our Public Prosecutor (Attorney General) seems to have forgotten his role and purpose. He behaves like the Prime Minister or government or the POLICE. He is confused.

A legal remedy must be made available to those who have been wrongly charged - Compensation must be made available for these persons not just the losses they suffer by reason of such charges (including also the loss of liberty).

What happens to the family and dependants of these 31? How may children have been affected here - and this is important as Malaysia is a signatory to the Child Rights Convention - and the welfare of the child is of paramount consideration - and I wonder whether this was even considered by the courts when they decided not to grant bail. (Remember, a person charged with murder can also be granted Bail - and it has happened here in Malaysia - why not in this case of this 31? Was it because of their economic standing? One wonders....

I urge the Public Prosecutor (Attorney General) to re-consider the charge of "attempted murder", and withdraw it.

I urge the
Public Prosecutor to at least withdraw his objections to BAIL - and urge the court to allow these 31 persons be released on bail.

I call upon the
Public Prosecutor to remember his role and function - and the need for him to be independent and also to act in an independent manner.

Who are the Hindraf 31?
Soon Li Tsin | Dec 15, 07 3:41

Car-tinter S Sures, 18, was among those charged with attempted murder of police officer Dadi Abdul Rani during a demonstration at Batu Caves in the early hours of Nov 25, just before the mammoth Hindraf rally which rocked the city.

Sures has a hole in his heart. His mother S Viswanathan, 58, who openly wailed on hearing that her son was denied bail, said her son was not part of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) but was at the Batu Caves temple to pray for his health.

When counsel GK Ganesan argued for bail for Sures, Shah Alam Sessions Judge Azimah Omar demanded to see his medical record.

However, the lawyer and courts were pressed for time so the records could not be produced. Subsequently, Sures - the youngest among the Hindraf 31 - was sent to the police lock-up.

Sures is one of the 31 individuals who were denied bail on the grounds of national security reasons and the severity of the charges, which also included “causing mischief”.

Visibly distressed families broke down and cried foul over the harsh Dec 6 decision as the 31 will be incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison for over a month until their trial begins on Jan 14 next year.

Bail hearing on Monday

However, the Shah Alam High Court will hear an appeal against the bail rejection decision on Monday.

Prior to this, 14 of the 31 were also charged for illegal assembly at Batu Caves at the Selayang Sessions Court on Nov 28.

The 31 are accused of wounding officer Dadi during a demonstration at Batu Caves, the site of an important Hindu temple on the fringes of Kuala Lumpur.

At least 3,000 had gathered at the Batu Caves temple grounds in the early hours of Nov 25, drawing a stiff response from police who used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd and made 69 arrests.

Later in the morning, more than 30,000 people gathered in the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest against the marginalisation of ethnic Indians and the crowd again faced tear gas and water cannons.

While the focus has been on the top brass in Hindraf over the past few weeks, the 31 are in fact very ordinary people ranging from a 18-year-old boy to a 54-year-old odd-job worker.

Some are students, while a few are lorry drivers, and together they have a monthly estimated income of between RM500 to RM2,000. A number of them are expected to lose their jobs as a result of their long absence from work.

To compound their plight, some of their lawyers who are representing them, including Hindraf legal adviser P Uthayakumar, had been arrested under the Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial.

Charged for attempted murder

Malaysiakini compiles the list of the 31 individuals - some of whom are Hindraf members while others were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

1. SS Ganishen, 39, lorry driver.

2. K Raju, 42, driver. He is hard of hearing on one side.

3. R Sakthivel, 34, technician. In court, he told reporters that he left his bike when he passed by the Batu Caves temple to see what was happening. When he returned to his bike, the police arrested him.

4. K Ganapathy, 38, lorry driver.

5. K Sukumaran, 24, foreman.

6. S Kumaran, 25, farmer.

7. B Varatharaju, 32, foreman.

8. M Kuna Sekaran, 24, machine operator.

9. V Ganeson, 40, lorry driver.

10. L Thiyagarajan, 31, sales executive.

11. S Gunaa, 21, is a farmer. He only gets salary when there is work.

12. K Thinagaranpillay, 23, manager.

13. N Balamohan, 23, part-time worker.

14. K Gopinath, 27, store keeper.

15. R Suresh, 24, runs his own business.

16. G Suman, 20, runs his own business.

17. M Buwenthiran, 24, technician.

18. M Pushparathan, 21, technician.

19. S Tail Arasu, 26, despatch boy.

20. N Ramasamy, 43, is a driver. He is also a kidney patient. He showed his dialysis card in court but this was dismissed by judge Azimah as it did necessarily prove his health condition.

21. S Ramash Kumar, 22, student.

22. R Pushpanathan,19, despatch boy.

23. S Mugilan Dever, 20, student.

24. G Thinesh Kumar, 19, foreman.

25. T Kunalan, 28, machine operator.

26. S Sures, 18, car-tinter. He has a hole in the heart.

27. A Vasantarao, 19, student.

28. N Markandan, 54, odd-job worker.

29. K Raghu, 39, technician.

30. A Rayar, 30, had an engagement ceremony planned on Dec 7 that had to be cancelled. His occupation is unknown.

31. S Ravi, 33, lorry driver.

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