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Malaysia may invoke indefinite detention law to deter protests: PM

[JURIST] Authorities in Malaysia [JURIST news archive] may rely on the country's controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) [HRW backgrounder] to halt protests, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi [official website; BBC profile] said Tuesday after Sunday demonstrations [TIME report] in Kuala Lumpur by thousands of the nation's ethnic Indians. The ISA is a preventive detention law that allows the Malaysian government to detain suspects for two years without trial and to renew the detention indefinitely.

The Sunday rally was sparked by complaints that the predominantly Malay Muslim government economically discriminates against ethnic Indians and other minorities. Three Hindu activists originally arrested before the protest and charged with sedition have subsequently been released [BBC reports]. Earlier this month, Malaysian police previously cracked down [JURIST report] on demonstrators participating in an unauthorized election reform rally held by the electoral rights group Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections [advocacy website], firing tear gas and water cannons at protesters. AP has more.

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