KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court on Tuesday (Feb 25) freed eight individuals accused of supporting Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) terror group, including Gadek assemblyman G. Saminathan.
Saminathan, 35, who has been in detention since Oct 10 last year (2019) was freed before High Court judge Justice Datuk Muhammad Jamil Hussin, along with fellow accused technician S. Arivainthan, 28.
Scrap metal dealer A. Kalaimughilan, 29, postman S. Teeran, 39, Melaka Green Technology Corporation chief executive officer S. Chandru, 39, teacher Sundaram Renggan @ Rengasamy, 53, security guard M. Pumugan, 30, and DAP member V. Suresh Kumar, 44, were also acquitted and discharged in three other separate High Courts.
The release of the eight individuals was done following prosecution's application to discontinue the prosecution against them, under the instructions of Attorney General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas.
Justice Jamil, in acquitting Saminathan and Arivainthan, acknowledged that the prosecution had discontinued the cases so there was no prospect for the duo's charges to be reinstated.
He also ruled for the trial dates that have been fixed earlier to be vacated.
Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Mohd Farhan Aliff Ahmad who handled the duo's cases told the court that the prosecution wished to stop the proceedings against the two accused in accordance with Section 254 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
Farhan said that this was in line with Thomas' media statement last week related to the LTTE-related charges.
Meanwhile, counsel Ramkarpal Singh who was representing the two said that since there were no reasonable grounds provided by the prosecution to discontinue the case, the proper order should be to acquit and discharge his clients.
"The facts of the cases are the same as with the case of P. Gunasekaran (Seremban Jaya assemblyman) who was discharged and acquitted by the High Court yesterday (Monday, Feb 24).
"There is no reason to give a different order," he said.
The duo was also represented by Harshaan Zamani.
Kalaimughilan, Teeran, Chandru, and Sundra were acquitted and discharged by Judicial Commissioner Datuk Aslam Zainuddin on the same grounds in a separate court.
Pumugam and Suresh Kumar were also freed on the same grounds by Judicial Commissioner Ahmad Shahrir Mohd Salleh and High Court judge Justice Collin Lawrence Sequerah respectively in their courts.
Family members and friends of the accused were seen outside the courtrooms waiting for them to be released, after more than four months of detention.
DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and M. Kulasegaran were also seen at the court.
Deputy public prosecutors Muhammad Asyraf Minhad, Izhanuddin Alias, and Mohamad Nuzul Azuar Zulkifli also prosecuted.
Ramkarpal and Harshaan also represented Suresh Kumar, while counsel Dr N. Ahilan represented Pumugan, and counsel A. Mathan were represented by Chandru, Sundram, Kalaimughilan, and Teeran.
All eight individuals were charged with multiple counts of pledging their support to LTTE, which is classified as a terror group in the country, via their Facebook account and by attending events relating to the group as well as possessing items related to the group.
They were alleged with committing the offences between 2014 and 2019 at several locations in different states including Perak, Melaka, and Penang.
On Monday (Feb 24) Gunasekaran and taxi driver V. Balamurugan were acquitted and discharged by three separate High Courts.
S. Thanagaraj and B. Subramaniam, who were also accused alongside the eight, are expected to be freed on Wednesday (Feb 26).
On Feb 21, Thomas dropped the charges against the 12 individuals accused of supporting LTTE, saying that there was “no realistic prospect of conviction for the dozen accused on any of the 34 charges”.
In a statement, he said that mere idol-worshipping did not constitute a crime, and explained that there must be sufficient evidence for the prosecution to establish the crime “beyond reasonable doubt”.
All 12 individuals were first brought to court on Oct 31, 2019, and were charged with supporting and possessing items related to the terror group.
They were denied bail as they were detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.
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