LTTE was gazetted after date of alleged offence, says AG

The Attorney-General, Tommy Thomas, said there were doubts about the strength of the prosecution’s case.

PETALING JAYA: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said today that his decision to stop charges in the LTTE cases arose out of doubt about the strength of the prosecution’s case because of provisions in two laws.

He was quoted in a media interview today as saying that his decision to withdraw the charges against the 12 accused was not meant to question the authority of the home minister.

The minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, had said today that it was his prerogative under the anti-money laundering law (AMLA) to declare any organisation or person to be terrorists. The law also contains provisions on terrorism financing and proceeds of unlawful activities.

Muhyiddin had said there were strong grounds for the government to maintain LTTE’s listing as a terrorist group, a matter under his ambit and not that of the attorney-general.

“The minister is absolutely correct. He has the prerogative to gazette or degazette any group or individual (as terrorists),” Malaysian Insight quoted Thomas as saying.

He said there were doubts about the strength of the prosecution’s case because of provisions in AMLA and the date of the gazette notification declaring the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to be a terrorist organisation.

Thomas said the gazette notification was made in November 2014. However the charge against one of the accused concerns activities in March and June 2014.

“It is obvious that these charges against him simply cannot stand because at that point of time, the LTTE was not even gazetted which is a necessary element of the offences,” Thomas was quoted as saying.

He said the defence could also argue that the declaration of LTTE as a terrorist group could be invalid or should have been revoked after a six-month review.

Twelve people, including two DAP politicians, were arrested in October and detained under Sosma, the security law, for alleged links to LTTE, which became defunct after being defeated in its military campaign to establish a Tamil state.