Lawyers representing former Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) detainee Yazid Sufaat have deemed it unfair to compare his case with that of those detained under the same law over their alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Yazid, formerly detained over his suspected links with al-Qaeda and Islamic State, was released and placed on house arrest last week after years in jail.
In a statement today, his lawyers sought to clarify several “misconceptions” about the case, stressing that the terrorism charges brought against him have “never been proven”.
They explained that Yazid was first incarcerated without trial for eight years under the now-abolished Internal Security Act (ISA) for “purported involvement” in the Sept 11, 2001, al-Qaeda terrorist attacks on the US.
“(An allegation) that has never been proven in any court of law,” his counsel Amer Hamzah Arshad, New Sin Yew and Joshua Tay said.
Yazid was then re-arrested, detained and denied bail under Sosma for allegedly spreading terrorist ideology and recruiting terrorists. The charges against him were later withdrawn by the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
He was then charged for not providing information to the authorities, which he pleaded guilty to and served a sentence for.
Upon his release, Yazid was re-arrested on what his lawyers deemed as “vague allegations” under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2012 (Pota). He remained in detention until last Wednesday.
Be fair in opposition to Sosma
His lawyers disagreed on the use of Yazid’s release to argue in favour of the alleged LTTE supporters.
“At no point in time was Yazid found guilty of being a terrorist or spreading the terrorist ideology.
“Hence, it is unfair to compare Yazid's case with the LTTE case without an appreciation of all the facts. If at all, Yazid's case is another clear example of how Sosma and Pota could be abused by the authorities.
“To question why Yazid is being released is unfair to him,” they said.
Amer, New and Tay further opined that objection to detention-without-trial laws like Sosma and Pota ought to extend to detainees.
“Unlike now, there were no strong objections by politicians (who are now in power) back then when Sosma was used against Yazid and a few others...
“Those who oppose laws that allow for detention without trial should oppose its use against all people, including Yazid and the LTTE detainees, regardless of race, religion or political ideology,” they said.
Yesterday, Klang MP Charles Santiago (above) decried Yazid’s release as a “double standard” and compared his history of terrorism allegations to those recently charged with being linked to now-defunct Sri Lankan terrorist group LTTE.
“Compare this (Yazid’s) ‘resume’ against the 12 Malaysians who were arrested for alleged links with the now-defunct LTTE.
“They are two state assemblypersons, a Physics and English teacher, a chief officer of a corporation, a taxi driver, a scrap metal collector, a despatch rider and a storekeeper, plus two others who also do not have a curriculum vitae as impressive as Yazid's,” said the Pakatan Harapan backbencher.
The state lawmakers charged are DAP’s G Saminathan (Gadek) and P Gunasekaran (Seremban Jaya).
The police and Home Ministry have maintained that the 12 were charged based on strong evidence of terrorism.
Harapan component party DAP, however, sees the charges as a possibility of it being targeted by the "deep state".