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You are wrong, French lawyer tells Zahid Hamidi

May 16, 2012

1:01PM May 16, 2012 (MKini)

Lawyer Joseph Brehem, who is currently in France pursuing the inquiry into the Malaysian purchase of French submarines, rebutted Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement that the French courts have no jurisdiction over Malaysians.

“French courts have jurisdiction on anyone, being French or not, as soon as they are involved in a matter the courts are inquiring on. To say otherwise is either misleading or erroneous,” Brehem (right in photo) said in a statement issued by Suaram today.

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Suaram, the local human rights NGO, has filed a civil suit with the French courts to look into the government’s purchase of the submarines.

Yesterday Ahmad Zahid insisted that the French courts have no jurisdiction to summon Malaysians to testify in the ongoing inquiry.

Warrant of arrest

“Who are they to issue a warrant of arrest? We are not subjected to French laws,” he said.

He was responding to an earlier statement by Brehem that an international arrest warrant can be issued by a French judge if a witness refuses to assist in an inquiry following the issuance of a subpoena.

“If the witness refuses to abide by the subpoena, the court can issue a notice mandat d’amener, compelling the witness to appear before it. If the witness (still) fails to oblige, a warrant of arrest may be issued.

“The warrant of arrest is applicable within the French territory, and may be internationalised if the judge deems it necessary,” said Brehem.

Ahmad Zahid is named in the list of seven witnesses proposed by Suaram, which was accepted by French investigating judge Roger Le Loire.

However, this does not mean that all seven witnesses, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his associate Abdul Razak Baginda, will be subpoenaed by the inquiry.

The French judge is currently in the process of issuing subpoenas.

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