Friday, February 21, 2020

A-G Drops Criminal Proceedings Against LTTE-linked 12

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas (right) admirably exhibited common sense – a rare commodity in Malaysia – as well as showed gumption today, when he decided to discontinue criminal proceedings against 12 individuals accused of supposedly having links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. 

He said he didn't think they can be convicted under any of the 34 charges brought against them. 

He explained: “Each of them had in his mobile phone or Facebook account photos of (Velupillai) Prabhakaran and other leaders of LTTE slain during the Civil War in Sri Lanka. If such conduct can constitute a criminal offence, it would bring the law into disrepute. 

But even if there were elements of a ‘terrorist act’ on the part of all or any of the 12 accused of possessing, distributing or displaying such photos of Prabhakaran, it would be impossible for the prosecution to establish that they do not fall within the excluded category of Section 130B(4) of the Penal Code in that they merely constitute ‘advocacy, protest or dissent’”. 

He added: “As Public Prosecutor, I must conduct myself in a manner which will maintain, promote and defend the interest of justice”. 

And he continued: “I must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against each suspect on each charge. In reaching that judgment, I must exercise discretion responsibly and impartially”.

The men had been detained under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (or Sosma), since October last year for their alleged links to the LTTE – a defunct militant organisation that attempted to create an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka. 

The 12, including two DAP assemblypersons – Melaka’s Gadek representative G Saminathan and Negeri Sembilan’s Seremban Jaya’s P Gunasekaran – have denied their involvement in LTTE, stating that they only sympathized with the plight of the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

I only have one question. Why were they charged in the first place?

Yesterday, Fraser Forster repelled a VAR-awarded penalty to ensure Celtic's away goal gives them a narrow advantage after their Europa League last-32 1-1 stalemate against FC Copenhagen. 

Odsonne Edouard earned Neil Lennon's team a deserved lead in the fourteenth minute before their opposition launched a second-half surge which saw them leveling in the fifty-second minute. 

That save was a close call for Celtic alright. 

The return leg is in Glasgow next Thursday.

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