Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ragunath: Apology a separate issue

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council will go ahead and sue the Government even if it should apologise for the arrest of five legal aid lawyers outside the Brickfields police station on May 7.

Its president Ragunath Kesavan said any apology was a separate issue from the impending court action.

“The lawyers were detained overnight and as far as we are concerned, it’s their right to take action.

“It’s travesty of law when a lawyer who is there to meet a client in the police station is arrested for carrying out his duty.

“The court action is still ongoing and we will definitely file it on behalf of the lawyers,” he told reporters after handing over a memorandum to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

Ragunath said the council had also lodged a complaint with the Malaysian Human Rights (Suhakam) Commission as it concerned a breach of human rights.

“There are provisions under the Suhakam Act which says they cannot proceed with the inquiry if there is an ongoing court action. But we want the probe to carry on.

“So, we will look at how we can carry on with both action at the same time,” he said.

Ragunath said he also hoped that action would be taken against the police officers involved in the arrest of the legal aid lawyers.

“Our memorandum also states that we want a protocol to be established on access to lawyers and for the police to respect the rule of law,” he said.

Nazri promised that he would act immediately on areas that fell under his purview.

“For matters that are linked to the police, I will hand the memorandum over to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein,” he said.

Nazri said as the minister in charge of judiciary affairs, he wanted to ensure that the rule of law was upheld.

Sels: good job Ragunath.

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