Home Ministry to proceed with appeal on Raja Petra’s release from ISA

(Bernama) – The Home Ministry will proceed with its appeal against the High Court’s decision two years ago to release Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention, the Federal Court here was told Wednesday.

Senior federal counsel Najib Zakaria informed the three-men panel led by Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin that he had received instructions to proceed with the appeal.

The panel, which also comprised Federal Court judges Tan Sri James Foong Cheng Yuen and Datuk Abdull Hamid Embong, then allowed Najib’s application to adjourn the appeal to another date because Raja Petra’s counsel was not present during the proceedings.

Najib also gave an undertaking to the court that he would communicate with Raja Petra’s counsel on the matter.

In the proceedings, Justice Zulkefli had also questioned Najib on whether the appeal could proceed in the absence of Raja Petra.

Abdull Hamid also questioned Najib relating to the execution of the order against Raja Petra, who is believed to be abroad, in the event the ministry succeeded in its appeal to set aside the High Court’s order.

Zulkefli then requested Najib to discuss the matter with Raja Petra’s lawyer.

On Nov 7, 2008, the Shah Alam High Court ordered the release of Raja Petra from ISA detention after ruling that his two-year detention at the Kamunting detention camp in Taiping was unlawful.

Raja Petra was arrested on Sept 12, 2008 as he was deemed a threat to national security and the order to detain him under the ISA was issued on Sept 22, 2008.

He was detained on the grounds that he, among others, owned and operated the Malaysia Today website and had intentionally and recklessly published his articles and also readers’ comments on Malaysia Today that were critical of and insulted Muslims, the purity of Islam and the personality of Prophet Muhammad.

In filing the habeas corpus application, Raja Petra named the Home Minister as the respondent.