An unwelcome extension

An unwelcome extension

PETALING JAYA - Those who find themselves sitting in prison for a period longer than their original sentence can be considered to have been unlawfully detained and have full recourse to the law.

According to Malaysian Bar Council president Christopher Leong, the first step would be to file a writ of habeas corpus to secure their release.

"A civil suit can be filed for damages at the same time. If they only became aware of it after or if the authorities refuse to agree with him, he can then sue the authorities for damages," said Leong when contacted by The Star Online.

Criminal defence lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad also said that a writ of habeas corpus was the way to challenge the detention and secure the release of an overstaying prisoner.

"A writ of habeas corpus applies to any type of unlawful detention - if a person is kept in prison longer than their sentence, it becomes an unlawful detention. If a person is sentenced to one year in jail and they are in prison for one year and one day, that one day extra is an unlawful detention," said Amer.

It was reported that former Permodalan BSN Berhad chief executive officer Ahmad Skhri Ramli had been awarded RM322,000 (S$126,000) in damages after he "overstayed" in prison for 74 days.

Ahmad Shkri was fined RM150,000 in default of six months' jail for each charge and managed to pay RM220,000.

He was supposed to have been released on Dec 2, 2009, after serving jail time following the High Court's dismissal of his appeal and his failure to pay the remaining RM80,000, but was only released on Feb 18, 2010.

He was convicted of two counts of abetment in the short-selling of 202,000 AKN Technology Berhad shares six years ago.

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