Despite their acquittal, lawyer Matthias Chang claimed he and former Batu Kawan Umno vice-chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan are apparently still banned from travelling abroad.
This is after the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur yesterday granted the duo a full acquittal, after they had been charged for financial sabotage over the reports they had lodged against 1MDB overseas.
Chang in a message to the media today said getting their passports back was a court procedure and had no impact on the government’s “dastardly and cowardly act” of restricting their overseas travel.
“We were banned from travelling before we were arrested and charged for attempting to sabotage the banking and financial services in Malaysia […].
“So the returning of our passports after our acquittal merely meant that our bond is revoked and our passport returned.
“But Home Ministry’s ban on our travelling is still being enforced. So we have to get the powers that be to revoke the ban.
“Whether they will do so is another matter,” said Chang.
Chang said their passports had been handed to the court as part of their RM10,000 bond pending the government’s appeal at the time to uphold the use of Sosma against the duo.
“This is another aspect of the tyranny unleashed against us. Hence, our struggle continues until total victory,” he said.
The duo are expected to file a suit against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for their detention under Sosma.
To challenge ban, if still on
Khairuddin meanwhile told Malaysiakini he believes the ban is still in place, and intends to go to the Immigration Department on Monday to confirm this.
He said if the ban is still in place, they will take the matter to court and to the United Nations human rights council.
“It is not justified to impose a travel ban and curb our right to travel abroad.
“This goes against human rights principles, furthermore, the court has already acquitted us fully,” he said when contacted.
“Should they continue with the travel ban, it would mean they do not respect the decision of the court, which has freed us from the Sosma case,” he added.
In September 2015, the duo were banned from travelling abroad following a series of reports they had lodged against 1MDB in Switzerland, London and Singapore.
Khairuddin at the time said he was due to leave for New York and London the morning he was barred from travel.
The duo were then detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), the use of which the Federal Court finally dismissed this April.
Investigations and related actions against 1MDB-linked matters have since been initiated in up to 11 countries – Australia, British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United States of America, and Venezuela – noted Bar president Steven Thiru this January.
Notably, Singapore has convicted a banker related to dealings with the fund, and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has initiated lawsuits to seize assets it claims had been derived from 1MDB.
Deputy Home Minister keeps mum
Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed when contacted today did not confirm whether the ban on the duo was still in place.
When asked if the police has lifted the ban, he said, “I don’t know. Maybe other agencies (have) requested.
“There might be other agencies (who) request (the ban),” he said briefly.