Uthayakumar refuses to attend hearing, court told

(Bernama) – Internal Security Act detainee P. Uthayakumar who is on trial for sedition, refused to attend court hearing, the Sessions Court heard here today.

Nevertheless, Deputy Public Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Toran asked the court to proceed with the hearing.

"We were informed by the detention camp authority through two letters that the accused, of his own accord, refused to be present in court for this hearing.

"Besides, the accused's absence today would not have any implications because today's proceedings is for the court to decide whether to accept or reject the preliminary objection submitted by Uthayakumar," she said.

Defence lawyer, M. Manogar, who sought to have the charge dropped, said his client was absent because he wanted officers from the Kamunting detention camp, not the police, to take him to the court.

Uthayakumar refused to come because he was afraid and worried that people who would take him to court would injure him, he said.

"Uthayakumar told me, he often sustained injury to his leg after stumbling upon objects while walking blindfolded. Besides, the accused claimed he was often forced to walk fast and they often ridiculed him," he said.

After hearing the arguments, Judge Sabariah Othman said Uthayakumar's absence in today's proceedings was not considered prejudicial to the case as alleged by the defence counsel, Manogar and N. Surendren.

Despite that, she fixed May 7 for written submissions on the defence's preliminary objection to the charge.

Uthayakumar, 46, had on Dec 11, 2007 claimed trial to publishing a seditious letter addressed to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on  http://policewatchmalaysia.com website.

He was said to have committed the offence at Menara Mutiara Bangsar, Bangsar, between Nov 15 and Dec 8, 2007 and if convicted, he can be fined a maximum of RM5,000 or jailed up to three years or both under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948.


This is the second person on trial for the charge of sedition who has refused to go to court to attend his sedition trial. Last week, Raja Petra Kamarudin also did not attend his sedition trial and the judge issued a warrant of arrest and gave his wife a 'show cause'.