Court denies bail to 31 ethnic Indians
The 31 people have been charged with attempting to murder a cop during last month's anti-Govt protest.india Updated: Dec 06, 2007 20:35 IST
A Malaysian court on Thursday denied bail to 31 ethnic Indians, charged with attempting to murder a policeman during last month's anti-government protest.
Judge Azimah Omar, who took about 20 minutes to read out her decision, said the court had taken into account the fact that public interest precedes the interests of all the accused, according to Bernama, Malaysia's official news agency.
Immediately after the ruling was announced, pandemonium broke out in the courtroom with members of the community shouting in protest.
The 31 were charged with attempted murder on Tuesday in connection with an attack on a policeman, Dadi Abdul Rani.
The men, aged between 18 and 54, were also charged with damaging public property and illegal assembly. Some were charged with rioting.
The judge said prosecution did not offer bail because all faced charges of attempted murder, which is non-bailable except at the court's discretion.
According to the judge, in considering bail the court had to take into account several factors -- including whether there was a reasonable belief that the accused had committed the offence, the risks and concerns that the accused would commit a similar offence or other offences and the possibility of the accused tempering with the evidence.
On Nov 25, the Malaysian police used teargas and water cannons to crush a rally by more than 10,000 ethnic Indians who were protesting against marginalization of the community in the country.
The ethic Indian community forms eight per cent of the country's 27 million population.
The India government last week said it was concerned about the developments and would take up the issue with the Malaysian government.
The Malaysian government has agreed to set up a telephone hotline for ethnic Indians to handle all the problems faced by them.