High Court to rule on bail for Sosma detainees

Some of the individuals detained in the recent crackdown against LTTE sympathisers.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sessions Court here today allowed the applications by Gadek assemblyman G Saminathan and three others to refer to the High Court on whether they can be offered bail despite being charged with alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) group.

Judge Rozina Ayob said in her ruling that there was merit to the applications.

“This matter must be referred to the High Court to determine whether Section 13(2) of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 or Sosma to deny bail to detainees is constitutional,” she told the packed courtroom.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh submitted yesterday that it was illegal for the executive, through the legislature, to usurp the court’s authority to remove the discretionary powers of judges to offer bail under Sosma.

He said Section 13(2), which limits the power of judges to offer bail only to certain categories of detainees, was against the principle of separation of powers.

He also said the police could use Sosma procedures to investigate those accused of committing offences against the state, and those involved in terrorism and organised crime under the Penal Code.

However, he said the court only has the discretion to offer bail to those charged with an offence against the state, and who have participated in serious criminal activities.

Even then, he added, the court is limited to offering bail to women, those below 18, and the sick and infirmed.

“Judges cannot offer bail to those charged with terrorism-related crimes. Sosma has usurped the full discretion of the courts to offer bail under special circumstances,” he said.

He told FMT that his legal team is liaising with the registry to have the constitutionality of Section 13(2) heard soon by a High Court judge.

Saminathan, taxi driver V Balamurugan, dispatch rider S Teeran, and scrap metal dealer A Kalaimughilan were charged before Rozina with knowingly giving support to the LTTE terrorist group through Facebook.

They were alleged to have committed the offence at the Bukit Aman Special Branch (Counter Terrorism) investigating office here between Oct 7 and 8 this year.

They risk life imprisonment or jail of up to 30 years with a possible fine, with any property used in the commission of the offence seized under Section 130J (1)(a) of the Penal Code.

Teeran was also charged under Section 130JB (1)(a) of the same law with having in his possession items linked to LTTE while at a hotel car park at Jalan Sultan on Oct 10.

If found guilty, he faces a jail term of up to seven years with a possible fine.

Kalaimughilan meanwhile was also charged with supporting the group on YouTube and while attending an event at Wisma Tun Sambanthan here between March 17, 2014 and June 2, 2014.

Both charges were framed under Section 130J (1)(a) of the Penal Code.

Seremban Jaya assemblyman P Gunasekaran, V Suresh Kumar, B Subramaniam, S Chandru, S Arivainthan, S Thangaraj, M Pumugan and Sundram Renggan @ Rengasamy were produced before Sessions Court judges Azman Ahmad and Azura Alwi.

Each of them face between one and four charges of showing support for LTTE or possessing materials linked to the group.