The Kuala Lumpur High Court today freed 8 individuals, including DAP Gadek assemblyperson G Saminathan, of charges linked to the now-defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Besides Saminathan, the others were A Kalaimughilan, S Teeran, S Chandru, Sundaram Renggan @ Rengasamy, V Suresh Kumar, S Aravainthan, and M Pumugan.
The men, who were charged with supporting LTTE and possessing items related to it, were acquitted and discharged by four separate High Courts today, after the prosecution said they did not wish to proceed with the cases.
Yesterday, the High Court freed DAP Seremban Jaya assemblyman P Gunasekaran.
Last week, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas announced that he was discontinuing charges against the 12 individuals, saying proceeding further would "bring the law into disrepute."
Thomas pointed out that the common theme between the 12 accused were that they had photos of slain LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and other leaders of the group in their mobile phones or Facebook accounts.
Thomas noted that it was common for people to hero worship their idols, drawing parrallels to the adoration towards historical leaders like Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and Che Guevara.
"Having their photos and other representations in one's mobile phone or on a Facebook account does not transform one to being a terrorist.
"Just because each of these leaders used terror or violence to achieve their political goals does not mean that an ardent supporter online should be regarded as a terrorist or is planning a terrorist act," he added.
The 12 men, including 2 DAP assemblymen, and three other DAP members, were picked up last year under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) in early October, for alleged links with LTTE.
They were then charged with supporting the now-defunct militant group, and face up to 7 years in jail, or a fine, or both, upon conviction.
The LTTE was embroiled in a civil war with the Sri Lankan army for almost three decades, in its quest for an independent Tamil state in the north and east of the country.
It is listed as a terrorist organisation in dozens of countries. Its reign ended in 2009 when the group was defeated by the Sri Lankan military.
Photo source: FMT/Bernama
Tue Feb 25 2020