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Monday, December 2, 2019

LTTE bail bid: Sympathy for civil war victims not a security offence



Sympathy for victims of Sri Lanka’s civil war is not a security offence, claimed businessperson B Subramaniam through his application to be allowed bail in his case of alleged supporting of defunct militant group Liberation of Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE).
This is the crux of his application for bail in his terrorism case, which his counsel S Selvam filed at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court Registry on Friday last week, immediately after a Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled as invalid Section 13 of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 which barred a court from considering granting bail in security offence cases. 
This was confirmed by Selvam when contacted today, who added that they had also filed a certificate of urgency with the Sessions Court Registry, in order to set a hearing date to hear the bail application as soon as possible.
The bail application was made under Section 388 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which deals with situations where a person charged with a non-bailable offence may still be granted bail by the courts.

Among these situations are seen in Section 388 (2), which states that if it appears to such officer or court at any stage of the investigation, inquiry or trial, that there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the accused has committed a non-bailable offence, but that there are sufficient grounds for further inquiry into his guilt, the accused shall, pending such inquiry, be released on bail, or, at the discretion of that officer or court, on the execution by him of a bond without sureties for his appearance as hereinafter provided.
According to a copy of the affidavit in support made available to Malaysiakini today, Subramaniam said that he was advised by Selvam that his act of giving support in sympathy to the victims of the Tamil ethnic group in Sri Lanka is not categorised as security offence, under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code read together with Section 130J(2)(k)(l) of the same Code.
The 57-year-old applicant, who co-owns a restaurant in Sungai Buloh with his wife, said that Sosma, which was enacted under Article 149(1) of the Federal Constitution and read with preamble 1 to 4, did not state that the act of support via sympathy to victims amounts to a security offence.
Article 149 deals with the legislation of laws against subversion and action that is prejudicial to public order, among others.
“I have also been advised by my lawyer and verily believe that my action of giving support of feeling of sympathy has never been included within a security offence under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code read together with Section 130J(2)(K) of the same Act (Penal Code), therefore I deserve to be allowed bail under Section 388 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC),” Subramaniam said.
Subramaniam was charged under Section 130J(1)(a) of the Penal Code, which criminalises the act of knowingly and in any manner to solicit support for or give support to any terrorist group, which on conviction is punishable with life imprisonment, or imprisonment not exceeding thirty years, or with fine, as well as being liable to forfeiture of any property used or intended to be used in connection with the offence.
Section 130J(2)(k) of the Penal Code defines the meaning of supporting a terrorist group, among others.
In relation to his arrest and detention by police on Oct 10 due to his alleged involvement in a security offence via the release of two videos, he explained that the videos were merely him expressing his dissatisfaction with the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, among others.
“I do not have any link, whether directly or indirectly, with the LTTE. The videos were made on a sense of humanity (dasar berperikemanusiaan) and sense of patriotism as someone of Tamil ethnicity.
“I also have never at any time donated in any form whatsoever to the LTTE group and have never obtained any benefit or advantage from the LTTE group, whether directly or indirectly,” Subramaniam said.
The businessperson added that him feeling sympathy for the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka had never felt wrong to him, due to even the BN government in 2016 sympathising with the Tamils there by donating US$1 million via the Tamil Malaysian Forum, among others.
“I also have no single knowledge on whether Malaysia had issued any circular, gazette or any law to classify support for Tamil Eelam victims as terrorists that threaten the country of Malaysia,” he said.
“I wish to emphasise that the posting of the videos by me in support of victims of ethnicity (mangsa-mangsa perkauman) in the country of Sri Lanka must not be considered as posing a security threat to people or property, or to cause a large number of Malaysians to be afraid of said terrorism, or to awaken sentiment of disloyalty against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or to be detrimental (memudaratkan) public order within the federation or any part of it, or to be detrimental to the security of the federation or any part of it or to bring change, other than through valid means in accordance to law,” he said.
Subramaniam also contended that the court needed to consider granting bail to him because he suffered from chronic diabetes and high blood pressure, which may further deteriorate his finances and general health with the high likelihood of his security offence trial taking a long time to settle.
“I humbly seek for this honourable court to allow my application (for bail) and that I would be able to defend against the baseless charge against me, while I would be able to treat my serious ailment which could not get proper treatment at Sungai Buloh Prisons,” he said.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that Subramaniam has a separate application to challenge the legality of his terrorism charge, in which the Kuala Lumpur High Court has set tomorrow to hear the prosecution’s preliminary objection against his bid. 
On Oct 31, Subramaniam was among 12 individuals hauled to the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to be charged over their purported links to defunct militant group, LTTE. 

- Mkini

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