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Tuesday September 23, 2008 MYT 4:48:45 PM

Raja Petra to be detained 2yrs under ISA (update 2)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was served with an order Monday night that would see him detained in Kamunting for two years under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Raja Petra will be held without trial under Section 8(1) of the ISA, reporters were told by his lawyers, who were at the High Court hear to argue their habeas corpus application on Tuesday. The detention order was signed by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar on Monday night.

On Tuesday, DPP Abdul Wahab Mohamad raised a preliminary objection over the blogger’s habeas corpus application saying that Raja Petra’s detention by the police under the Section 73(1) of the same Act has become academic.

DPP Abdul Wahab confirmed that he had been informed Tuesday morning of Raja Petra’s detention under the minister’s order which was effective Monday.

“The applicant is no longer detained under Section 73 (1) of the Act and we strongly contend that all the issues pertaining to the said detention have now become academic since the detention order under Section 8(1) of the Act came into effect,” he said.

DPP Abdul Wahab said the police no longer have authority on the applicant and that the burden has shifted to the Home Minister.

“Thus, any illegality in the prior arrest and detention cannot be the subject matter of inquiry. Any previous issues which transpired before the issuance of the detention order cannot be subject to judicial inquiry.

“I seek your indulgence to strike out the application,” he submitted before High Court judge Suraya Othman when the case was mentioned Tuesday.

Raja Petra had filed a habeas corpus application on Sept 16 to get a court order for his release. The blogger named the Inspector-General of Police as the respondent in the application.

In a supporting document affirmed by Raja Petra’s wife, Mable @ Marina Lee Abdullah said she believed that Raja Petra was detained under ISA on Sept 12 to silence him as well as to extract information concerning his sources.

His lead counsel Malik Imtiaz Sarwar argued Tuesday that the minister’s action was only to defeat the wrongful detention application by his client and it was unacceptable.

Malik argued that Raja Petra’s detention by the police under Section 73(1) of the same Act was without basis, unconstitutional and in bad faith.

He submitted that the minister’s order was inter-related with the detention order by the police and that the applicant could still challenge the validity of the said order. “It is a very urgent matter and there is no evidence to suggest that he (Raja Petra) is a threat to national security. He just put in his comments,” he said.

Justice Suraya asked both parties to file in further written submissions before hearing the matter again on Oct 28.

Speaking to reporters later, Malik said he would file another application for his client under Section 8 of the Act.

Earlier, Raja Petra’s wife Marina and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok were spotted chatting with former de facto Law Minister Senator Datuk Zaid Ibrahim as they sat at the public gallery.

Related story:
Court strikes out Teresa Kok’s application

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