By S. Pathmawathy | Malaysiakini
Lawyers representing the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) filed a habeas corpus application in the Kuala Lumpur High Court registry today to seek their release.
The PSM 6 are Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, M. Sarasvathy, M. Sukumaran, A. Letchumanan, Choo Chon Kai, and R. Sarat Babu.
Lawyer Yudistra Darma Dorai (right) told reporters that police would grant the lawyers access to the detainees at 2pm tomorrow, at six different police stations.
The PSM 6 were first detained on June 25 at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in Kepala Batas, Penang, for allegedly attempting to “wage war” against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
When their remand order expired last Saturday, they were re-arrested under section 2(1) of the EO, without access to family or legal assistance.
Under the EO, the police have the power to hold detainees for 60 days to prevent any person from acting in a manner “prejudicial to public order”, or to suppress violence or crimes involving violence.
After the initial detention period, the home minister can authorise the extension of detention without trial for up to two years.
“We have also filed a certificate of urgency and we will follow up with the court for a hearing as soon as possible,” said Yudistra.
He said that the lawyers will also use the opportunity to consult their clients on the habeas corpus application.
Police alleged the six were suspected to be involved with foreign elements and had subversive tendencies.
Duo met lawyer while appearing in another case
However, lawyer Edmund Bon, who is among the counsel defending the activists, was opportune enough to meet with two of them today.
Sarasvathy and Sugumaran, who were brought to appear in another case pertaining to an illegal protest in 2007, met with Bon after their defence lawyer had asked the court to allow him to speak to them for 10 minutes.
“This is the first time they are seeing each other. From the information we obtained in the short time, they were treated like ISA (Internal Security Act) detainees. In fact Sarasvathy was told she was detained under the ISA,” said Bon (right), who met with reporters after the discussion.
He also told reporters that the duo were blindfolded and they are not aware where they were being detained.
“Sarasvathy has not been questioned on anything except her personal details, but Sugumaran has undergone severe interrogation by no less than five police officers questioning him on Bersih,” said Bon.
“They asked Sugumaran about his alleged involvement with Bersih, what Bersih was planning to do; this is the same type of interrogation techniques used on ISA detainees as well,” he said.
Bon said the grounds that have been levelled against the six were “wholly without basis and are a political persecution” in light of the crackdown against Bersih 2.0 supporters.
Bersih, a coalition for clean and fair elections, had initially planned a major street walk to Istana Negara on Saturday to appeal to the Agong to push for electoral reforms.
However, since last week the authorities have resorted to every legal avenue possible to clamp down on the rally, including outlawing the coalition, banning related materials and hauling up hundreds for their support for the cause.
Yesterday, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, after an audience with the Agong, agreed to a compromise and announced that the coalition would accept the government’s request to hold the rally in a stadium.
Bon said that although Sarasvathy and Sugumaran were not physically harmed, they seemed to have been mentally tortured and appeared anguished.