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Tharmendran’s detention deeply disturbing

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The detention of former Air Force sergeant N Tharmendran by eight air force personnel outside the Shah Alam High Court is deeply disturbing.

The Court had fixed 17 December for a decision on Tharmendran’s application to strike out the charge for the theft of two fighter jet engines. Tharmendran had been charged with allegedly stealing the engines in 2007 at the RMAF base in Subang.

Tharmendran’s lawyers are clearly worried with justification about his safety as they claim he had been hurt before while in custody. His lawyer insists that Tharmendran is a civilian as he is no longer in service and therefore the air force had no right to arrest him. The air force, for its part, considers him a deserter for failing to report for work after posting bail on 6 September this year.

But according to his lawyer N Surendran, Tharmendran’s contract with the air force had expired on 28 May and had not been renewed. Neither had he received any wages since then. “This is a clear violation in the administration of justice…,” he said.

It is appalling that the air force personnel could haul away Tharmendran in full view of several police personnel who were at the court compound.

Aliran regards what happened to Tharmendran as an interference with the due process of justice and calls for his immediate release. The air force personnel responsible for his detention must also be hauled up and made accountable for their actions. Tharmendran’s previous allegations of ill-treatment must also be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to book.
Aliran executive committee
25 November 2010

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