KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Lawyers representing five men, including two lawmakers, will be filing habeas corpus applications to challenge their detention under Malaysia's security laws for alleged links to a banned Sri Lankan militant group.
Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, a prominent member of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), said the lawyers would be filing the applications at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on Monday (Oct 21).
Habeas corpus is a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release, unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.
The five men were among 12 detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act over alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a defunct group in Sri Lanka which is banned in Malaysia.
Police said the 12 men, including the DAP state assemblymen, were trying to revive the LTTE and had been moving around "big amounts" of funds collected for the purpose.
"We will hold a press conference outside the courthouse at around 12pm (on Monday) after filing the applications," Mr Ramkarpal said when contacted.
The DAP is one of the four parties grouped under Pakatan Harapan, Malaysia's ruling coalition.
The arrests have raised tensions between the DAP and other members of the Mahathir Mohamad administration. DAP leaders say they were not warned of the impending arrests, and claimed that their lawmakers are innocent.
The two DAP state assemblymen are P. Gunasekaren from Negeri Sembilan and G. Saminathan from Melaka.
Police have said that Indian politician Senthamizhan Seeman from Tamil Nadu state may be banned from entering Malaysia if there is evidence that links him to the LTTE. Mr Seeman has been entering Malaysia many times to meet Malaysian politicians.
The arrests have marred the image of the DAP in the eyes of a section of Malaysia's Malay majority as a political party that harbours racial extremists.
Meanwhile the police have again defended their action for detaining the men under Sosma, which replaces the tough Internal Security Act.
Said police chief Abdul Hamid Bador on Sunday, as quoted by Bernama news agency: “Investigation of this issue has been ongoing, since November last year. The Counter Terrorism Division of the Bukit Aman Special Branch has enough evidence to take action.
“I can assure you that we did not make the arrest without reasons. Once we have completed our investigation and have enough proof, we seek the opinion of the Attorney-General’s office before proceeding with any action. After discussing with my officers, the arrest was made on my directive,."