Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Manoharan wants to represent himself in court

Manoharan wants to represent himself in court
by Tan Yi Liang

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23, 2008) : The High Court here today postponed to Nov 12 the habeas corpus application hearing of Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M.Manoharan to give him time to appeal to the Home Ministry to allow him to defend himself.

"He has been denied entry to this court as he has been declared a threat to national security by the Home Ministry. If Karpal Singh was allowed in 1987 to attend his detention hearings, why is it different now. For this reason, we ask for an adjournment because he has a right to appear," said Manoharan's lawyer S.R Sreedevi Naidu, who spoke to the press outside the courtroom.

"He should represent himself in this case. If Karpal was allowed to do so in 1987, we see no reason why he (Manoharan) shouldn't be allowed now. Karpal was also detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and declared a threat to national security," said Sreedevi.

Manoharan was elected a Selangor assemblyman in the March 8 general election while in detention in Kamunting. He was active in the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and was detained last Dec 13.

DPP Abdul Wahab did not object to the request for postponement but pointed out that since the Home Ministry had already objected once to Manoharan's attendance, they saw no reason why he should appeal again.

Sreedevi then pointed out that Manoharan had also been denied his right to attend Selangor State Assembly sittings.

"There were sittings of the Selangor State Assembly on May 22, 23 and 26 as well as on Aug 20 and 22. He put in a letter to request that he be allowed to attend, but he was forced to put in the reason that he could not attend as 'he was on vacation'," said Sreedevi.

She said Manoharan risked losing his state seat as a result of his detention.

"If an assemblyman fails to attend State Assembly sessions for six months, the seat will be declared vacant, and a by-election will be called. This is why he was forced to say that he was on vacation," she said.

Manoharan's wife S.Pushpaneela said: "My husband is an elected representative. The detention is an insult to the voters."

Updated: 03:54PM Tue, 23 Sep 2008

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