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Malaysian court allows joint trial for 54 ethnic Indians
January 04, 2008 14:25 IST
A Malaysian court has allowed a joint trial for 54 ethnic Indians who took part in an "illegal" assembly organised by a non-governmental Hindu group in November last year to protest against the alleged marginalisation of the community.
Thirty-seven of the 54 ethnic Indians turned up in court on Thursday and claimed trial for participating in the unlawful assembly organised by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf).
N Sivanathan, the lead counsel for the accused, said the remaining 17 were not aware of the court date as it was earlier fixed for another day, New Straits Times said.
Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, who headed the nine-member prosecution team, told the court that some 16 prosecution witnesses were expected to give evidence.
The next hearing has been set for March 3 by the court, which also allowed a joint trial for all the 54 accused.
Over 20,000 people of the community participated in the assembly declared as illegal by the government.
Authorities took into custody scores of people following the assembly but now five members of Hindraf remain in detention, who were held under the controversial Internal Security Act (ISA).