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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Deporting Bourdon is Najib's biggest mistake, says Suaram

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:38 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The unceremonious deportation of renowned French human rights lawyer, William Bourdon, last Friday is the biggest mistake yet by the Malaysian government for it is an affront to diplomacy, to international law and common decency. It was a totally arbitrary act by the Home Ministry and a gross abuse of executive power of the Najib administration.
William Bourdon was in Malaysia last week, representing SUARAM in the ongoing investigations over irregularities involved in the purchase of two Scorpene class submarines from the French state company DCN costing more than RM 7.3 billion ringgit.

No reasons were given to William Bourdon for his sudden detention and subsequent deportation, as immigration officers stepped into the aircraft to detain him minutes after the plane landed in KLIA , kept him from his wife for several hours and denied him access to lawyers, pending his flight out to Paris some 12 hours later.
He was denied any opportunity to defend himself, and was asked to sign deportation orders in Bahasa Malaysia, and told that he would be held for 3 nights pending his flight home scheduled initially for the 24th of July. He absolutely refused to accept any such unreasonable conditions, and made arrangements to fly out the very same night itself.
A crude attempt to silence the truth
Such an action by the Malaysian authorities and the behaviour of our immigration officials have surely damaged beyond repair all attempts by the Tourism Ministry to sell Malaysia abroad. This clumsy attempt to silence the truth about the Scorpene scandal and the murder of Altantuya only serves to fortify the belief that the Prime Minister and his government is inextricably linked with the scandal.
The ongoing probe has uncovered 2 more paid out commissions amounting to Euro 30 and 2.5 million respectively besides the initial Euro 104 million. The beneficiaries will be exposed once the investigation moves into the open court.
SUARAM lawyers have further moved to apply for the appointment of an independent instruction judge in the French judicial system, as a way to circumvent any possibility of any party, from both the French and Malaysian side involved in the kickbacks and corruption, from influencing the public prosecutors involved in the initial stage of the inquiry, to drop or unnecessarily delay the caseThe statement by the Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi that SUARAM and the DAP have “exploited and vicitimised” William Bourdon merely exposes the defence minister's ignorance of the reputation of William Bourdon in the international stage and his ignorance of the French judicial system. William Bourdon did not come to "defend the case in Malaysia"; he only came to brief his clients, ie. SUARAM and the Malaysian public about the ongoing case in France.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein's statement that the deportation of William Bourdon is not political is unconvincing as Immigration officials had repeatedly asked William about his speech in Penang the night before.
SUARAM has been very transparent about its objectives in pursuing this case in the French courts. The French tax payers have an equal interest in getting to the bottom of the scandal involving commissions given to officials in both countries which will then provide the motive for the murder of Altantuya. We are gratified that the Defence Minister has already said that he is ready to testify in the French courts when the time comes.
The government must explain its shameful action in detaining and deporting William Bourdon to the Malaysian public, and give assurances that there will be full cooperation when the case goes to the open court in France.

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