An ethnic Indian organisation in Malaysia on Wednesday launched a signature campaign to seek the release of five of its leaders detained under a controversial security law and appealed to premier Abdullah Badawi to either free them or put them on trial.
The Chairman of Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), P Wayathu Moorthy, called on the government to "unconditionally release all the five who have been falsely and unjustly incarcerated since December 13 or alternatively charge them in a court of law."
The leaders of Hindraf were held under the tough Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows indefinite detention without trial, after the group organised a massive rally in Kuala Lumpur on November 25 to protest the alleged marginalisation of ethnic Indians in Malaysia.
The government said they were a threat to national security and accused them of having terrorist links. The group has denied the allegations.
Moorthy, who is currently in London, said in a statement sent to his office through email that Hindraf would continue its struggle both locally and internationally to "highlight the plight of minority Malaysian Indians."
"It is our strong belief that our Prime Minister will listen. He says he has 'big ears' and we hope his big ears will listen," Hindraf spokesman Thanenthiran Ramankutty said in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
He said the international signature campaign, which will continue till January 20, 2008, was targeting one million signatories from all races who supported the Hindraf cause.