PONTIAN, Dec 4, 2016:

In what can be described as a rare mass trial held outside the courtroom, a total of 251 illegal immigrants were charged at a Special Sessions Court held in the Pekan Nanas Immigration Department detention centre in Pekan Nanas here today.

During the trial proceedings, 240 illegal immigrants were charged for not having valid travel documents, while 11 others were charged for overstaying.

They comprised 194 Bangladeshi nationals, Indonesians (21), Myanmar (16), Vietnamese (5), Pakistanis (2), Indian (1) and Nepalese (1).

The 11 charged for overstaying were three Bangladesh nationals, seven Indonesians and an Indian national.

The accused, aged between 19 and 47, all pleaded guilty to the charge under Section 6(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for not having valid travel documents.

Sessions Court judge Salawati Djambari sentenced each of them to a seven-month imprisonment from the date of their arrest on Dec 13.

However, the 11 pleaded not guilty to a charge under Section 15 (1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for overstaying.

Salawati fixed Jan 18 for mention.

Johor Immigration Department enforcement division’s head of prosecution, Norhasimah Othman prosecuted, while the illegal immigrants were unrepresented.

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