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Malaysia: Court orders return of passport of Hindraf leader

By Jaishree Balasubramanian in Kuala Lumpur
July 11, 2009 03:01 IST
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A Malaysian court on Friday ordered that the passport of an ethnic Indian leader to be returned to him, in a sedition case where he wrote a letter to United Kingdom Premier Gordon Brown seeking his intervention to protect the rights of Hindus in the Muslim-majority country.

The High Court allowed Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) lawyer P Uthaykumar application for return of his passport to enable him to seek treatment in London.

Setting aside an earlier order of the Sessions Court, it also reduced his bail amount to Rs 1 lakh from 5 lakh rupees.

Uthayakumar, 48, had claimed trial at a Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur on December 11, 2007 to publishing a seditious letter addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on a website.

In his letter to Brown dated November 15, 2007 he had asked Brown to support a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the Malaysian government's "atrocities" and "persecutions" of the country's Hindu minority and referring the case to the International Criminal Court.

Uthayakumar filed the revision application on May 18 to get his passport back to enable him to seek medical treatment abroad for heart condition and to reduce his bail.

"It is clear that the court cannot put any conditions on an applicants bail except to state the amount of the bail," the High Court said.

It also ruled that Internal Security Act provisions could not be connected with the Sedition Act.

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Jaishree Balasubramanian in Kuala Lumpur
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