Malaysia: PSM members win RM200,000 settlement in false imprisonment case
Celebrations following the release of the EO6. Ex-detainee Choo Chon Kai in centre. Photo by Alex Cheong.
October 8, 2013 -- From reports in the Malaysian press -- The Malaysia government has agreed to pay six Socialist Party of Malaysia (Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PSM) members RM200,000 (approx. US$63,000) following the settlement of the lawsuit filed for false imprisonment at the High Court.
The six were detained in a bus on June 25, 2011, on charges of treason and were released on July 2 when their remand period expired. They were re-arrested under the (now repealed) Emergency Ordinance (EO) and freed 27 days later on July 29.
The detentions resulted in an international solidarity campaign.The detainees became known as the EO6. The PSM credits this solidarity campaign for their comrades' release.
Prime Minister Najib Razak's government scrapped the Emergency Ordinance and other tough security laws in December 2011 following criticism that they were abused to silence dissent.
In the March 23, 2012, suit, Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, M. Sukumaran, A.P. Letchumanan, Choo Chon Kai, M. Saraswathy and R.R. Sarat Babu had named 82 defendants, including the inspector-general of police and his deputy, the government, the home ministry, the attorney-general, a deputy public prosecutor, as well as 60 police officers.
Justice Hue Siew Kheng recorded the consent judgement entered on the terms of settlement read out by the plaintiffs’ counsel Yudistra Darma Dorai yesterday.
He said the plaintiffs and defendants had agreed that the government and six arresting officers had to pay the plaintiffs RM200,000 in damages, costs and interest.
Choo Chon Kai said their case demonstrated the "high risk of (security laws) being abused by the authorities".
"Ours is a strong case for us to argue against detention without trial," he told AFP. "It has been abused. Our case is one of the examples."
In their statement of claim, the six claimed that their detention was unjustified and unlawful, and had been done for political reasons. They also claimed that they were denied their legal rights while in custody, including their right to consult a lawyer.
hey are also seeking a declaration that their rights under the federal constitution had been infringed upon, and are claiming assessed damages, aggravated and exemplary damages, costs, and other damages and relief deemed fit by the court.