|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Malaysia charges Hindraf lawyer with sedition
December 11, 2007 17:18 IST
Malaysia's Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) lawyer P Uthayakumar was charged in a sessions court in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday with posting a seditious letter on a web site.
Uthayakumar pleaded not guilty to the charges, reported the Malaysian national news agency Bernama.
Judge Sabariah Othman allowed Uthayakumar's bail of 50,000 Ringgit with one surety and ordered his passport to be impounded. The court has fixed five days from January 7 for the trial.
The letter from Hindraf, dated November 15, 2007, was addressed to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Uthayakumar was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, which carries a fine of not exceeding 5,000 Ringgit or a jail term not exceeding three years or both for a first offence.
Meanwhile, the high court reinstated the sedition charges against three lawyers, including Uthayakumar, which were thrown out by the Klang sessions court on November 26.
The Bernama report said Uthayakumar, his brother Wytha Moorthy and V Ganabathirau will be produced again before the court this week.
The three lawyers and Hindraf had organised a protest rally on November 25 claiming that ethnic Indians in Malaysia were being marginalised.
The group has also sought Gordon's help in raising their issues at the United Nations.
The group has also filed a four-trillion dollar claim against the British government alleging that the former colonial masters had brought their forefathers in the 1800s to the then Malaya colony as indentured labourers and left them out of Malaysia's prosperity.
The protest has become a major challenge for the Malaysian government, especially involving the minority Indian community, ahead of a likely general election in 2008.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government is all set to settle the issue and take the illegal rally protestors to court.