Malaysian court awards ex-detainees damages
- Published: 2/10/2012 at 11:49 PM
- Online news:
A Malaysian court on Tuesday awarded damages to a group of activists and opposition politicians, ruling that part of their detention under a harsh security law was illegal.
A protest against Malaysia's controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) in Kuala Lumpur in April 2012. A Malaysian court on Tuesday awarded damages to a group of activists and opposition politicians, ruling that part of their detention under the ISA law was illegal.
The three opposition politicians and two activists were arrested in 2001 after an anti-government protest and held for up to two years under the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allowed indefinite detention without trial.
Prime Minister Najib Razak recently abolished the law in a move to gain votes ahead of elections due by mid-2013, by granting greater civil liberties and appeasing critics who say the legislation was abused to curb dissent.
A High Court ruled Tuesday the group's detention was partially unlawful. It awarded 15,000 ringgit ($5,000) per person for each day in police custody in addition to other damages, said Hishamuddin Rais, an activist and plaintiff.
Those arrested under the ISA were held by police for up to 60 days for interrogation before being transferred to a detention camp.
The court also ruled that police had defamed the group by implying they were involved in terrorism, Hishamuddin said.
"The court has reaffirmed our belief that the ISA is a law that has nothing to do with fighting terrorism. It is a law that has been used to arrest the political opponents of the ruling party," he told AFP.
Government lawyers could not immediately be reached. They can appeal the verdict.
In 2010, another high court awarded a Malaysian businessman 3.3 million ringgit in compensation, declaring his three-year detention from 1991 under the ISA was unlawful and unconstitutional.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency