On Friday, 23rd April, 2004 Ram Seegobin, one of the leading Lalit members, has been "summoned" by the Police to appear in Port Louis District Court No. 3 at 9:00 am (Cause No. 6050/03).
Curiously the "summons" is not from the Court. Nor is there any mention of the date of the offense, nor of any particular "information" on which the charge is based. Nor was any paper served on Dr. Seegobin and left with him.
However, he was shown a piece of paper which, before signing and returning it to the Police Officers who came to "summons" him on 12th February, 2004, he photocopied on his fax machine. (Copy Attached for the Press.)
The Press will be interested to note that:
- The Prosecutor South Office (Line Barracks) who are responsible for this "summons" had first thought of charging our member with "affecting public mischief", which is then, as you will see crossed out, and replaced with the preferred single floating present participle: "molesting". The charge is clearly being laid in a way which is both fickle and vague.
- - Ram Seegobin on 25th February, 2004 addressed a formal letter to the Prosecutor South (Line Barracks) with copies to the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Magistrate of the District Court No. 3, to ask for enlightenment as to the precise charge that he has to answer to on Friday, 23rd April, 2004. As of today, 19th April, 2004, almost two months later, Ram Seegobin has had no reply to his formal request for clarification.
LALIT considers this kind of police procedure as a serious "dérive" from normal rule-of-law procedures and as an infringement of the fundamental right of citizens of the Republic to enjoy freedom. LALIT considers the Police action to be pure harassment of a political opponent of the regime.
Perhaps the Press should consider sending a Reporter to follow what may turn out to be an important test case.
19th April, 2004