Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fifty Myanmar nationals charged with entering country without valid UNHCR refugee passes



    SEPANG: Fifty Myanmmar nationals were charged in the Sessions Court here with entering the country without valid United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) passes.
    The men, aged between 18 and 55 years old, claimed trial to the charge after it was read to them before Judge Norhayati Mohamad Yunus on Monday.
    They were charged under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act which provides for a fine of up to RM10,000, imprisonment of not more than five years and whipping, if convicted.
    The men later told the Court that they had valid UNHCR passes and the court fixed July 1 for mention pending confirmation by the Immigration Department.
    Meanwhile, Myanmmar national Win Thay, 42, was jailed four months while Bangladeshi Md Shahadat Hossain, 36, was sentenced to two months' jail after they pleaded guilty to overstaying.
    Both were charged under Section 15(1)(c) of the same act.
    Kuala Lumpur Immigration Department prosecuting officer Seipul Anwar Amat prosecuted while the men were unrepresented.
    Before proceedings, Seipul Anwar said 52 men were carrying improper documents when they were picked up from the Selayang wholesale market on June 7.
    "50 out of the 52, were found with faked UNHCR passes and we will charge them under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act for not carrying proper permits," he said.
    He said the accused could have entered the country illegally.
    He also added that another 137 Myanmar nationals would be charged for the same offence here Tuesday.
    UNHCR legal advisers were seen attempting to meet with the detainees outside the court complex, but they were not allowed access.
    The organisation said that they had not been given access to them since their arrests, and wanted to verify if they had legitimate refugee claims.
    Immigration Department senior prosecuting officer Abdul Latiff Hamzah said the group should have done it earlier at the Department's headquarters in Jalan Duta.