Hukuman penjara lima tahun yang dijatuhkan Mahkamah Rayuan terhadap Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim memudahkan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) menawan hati pengundi Melayu, kata calon Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail.
Dr Wan Azizah dalam temubual eksklusif bersama The Malaysian Insider di Bilik Gerakan PR, di Kajang hari ini berkata, disebabkan keputusan mahkamah itu, pengundi Melayu yang sebelum ini sukar menerima PR mula menunjukkan respon positif.
“Bila mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman, reaksinya jelas, mereka (pengundi Melayu) merasakan itu ketidakadilan terhadap Anwar,” katanya.
Pengundi bukan Melayu membentuk sejumlah 51%, dengan pecahan pengundi Cina sebanyak 41%, dan pengundi India 10%.
“Mereka dikejutkan dengan keputusan mahkamah terhadap Anwar. Situasi itu mengejutkan pengundi Melayu,” katanya.
Dr Wan Azizah yang juga isteri kepada Anwar berkata, reaksi yang diterimanya daripada pengundi Melayu selepas mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman terhadap Anwar atas kesalahan meliwat Saiful Bukhari Azlan sangat berbeza.
“Selepas hukuman dijatuhkan, penerimaannya berbeza. Mereka melihat Anwar dari kacamata beliau sebagai mangsa.
“Mula-mula memang ada suatu gambaran mereka tidak terima saya. Tetapi apabila Anwar pergi tazkirah di surau dan masjid, penerimaan begitu baik,” katanya.
Dr Wan Azizah menggantikan Anwar sebagai calon PRK DUN Kajang berikutan kelayakan Anwar untuk bertanding di kerusi berkenaan terlucut setelah mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman tersebut.
Pemimpin PR ketika Konvensyen Pakatan Rakyat ke-5 di Shah Alam mendakwa, tindakan Mahkamah Rayuan dan penetapan tarikh pilihan raya kecil di Kajang adalah konspirasi kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) dan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) untuk menggagalkan Anwar bertanding di Kajang.
Dr Wan Azizah berkata, beliau rela dilihat menjadi “bayangan Anwar” kerana melalui perkara itu, cabaran ketidakadilan terhadap pemimpin pembangkang itu akan dapat dirasai rakyat.
“Bila mereka lihat saya mereka akan nampak Anwar. Saya memang mahu mereka lihat itu, ketidakadilan yang berlaku,” katanya.
Presiden PKR, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail akan guna pendekatan keibuan menangani konflik antara ahli dalam parti.Dr Wan Azizah juga mengakui, pada awalnya beliau keberatan apabila mesyuarat biro politik memilihnya menggantikan Anwar untuk bertanding di kerusi yang dikosongkan bekas Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Kajang, Lee Chin Cheh itu.
“Saya enggan menyertai politik dengan aktif kerana saya rasa apabila Anwar dibebaskan pada 2005 saya sudah buat apa yang saya perlu buat.
“Tetapi apabila ini berlaku, PR berbincang dan keluar nama saya, malah biro politik saya sendiri. Saya berfikir ini sebahagian untuk negara,” katanya.
Dr Wan Azizah berkata, keputusannya menerima cadangan PR itu adalah untuk kelangsungan generasi akan datang.
“Apa yang tinggal daripada hidup saya, saya rasa ini sumbangan untuk generasi akan datang,” katanya.
Semasa tempoh Anwar dipenjarakan atas kesalahan salah guna kuasa, Dr Wan Azizah mengetuai gerakan pembangkang dengan menubuhkan Parti Keadilan Nasional, yang kemudiannya ditukar kepada Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
Beliau juga pernah memenangi kerusi Parlimen Permatang Pauh selama tiga penggal bermula pada 1999, 2004 dan 2008 sebelum melepaskan kerusi berkenaan untuk membolehkan Anwar menyertai semula arena politik sebaik sahaja dibebaskan.
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail dalam temubual eksklusif dengan The Malaysian Insider. – Gambar The Malaysian Insider oleh Nazir Sufari, 11 Mac, 2014.Dr Wan Azizah juga pernah menjadi ketua pembangkang wanita pertama dalam sejarah negara pada 2008.
Ditanya keupayaan beliau untuk meredakan ketegangan dalaman PKR antara timbalan presiden parti itu Mohamed Azmin Ali dan Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, Dr Wan Azizah berkata, beliau mempunyai “watak keibuan” untuk menyelesaikan perkara itu.
“Saya selalu menjadi individu yang mengamalkan pendekatan lembut . Saya mempunyai watak keibuan untuk menjayakan rekonsiliasi dalam PKR.
“Kami semua ibarat sekeluarga,” katanya.
Dr Wan Azizah akan bertanding satu lawan satu dengan calon BN dari MCA, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.
SPR menetapkan 23 Mac sebagai tarikh membuang undi untuk PRK DUN Kajang.
The Ides of March
The condemnation and sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim on 6th and 7th of March in the grandiose setting of Istana Kehakiman in Putrajaya were a political act disguised as legal procedure.
With a savagery that reminded one of the brutal stabbing of Julius Caesar, the prosecutor pursued his victim with further vituperation, while the condemned man and several in the audience called out, “Enough, sit down, you have got what you wanted.”
The final act of this trial fiasco displayed openly the malignancy of the forces at work.
The condemnation and sentence had been delivered abruptly and without the explanatory detail which would follow later. Time was running out and the matter must be accomplished without delay.
After delivering the verdict, and without pause, the judge proposed that he would proceed to mitigation pleas. Counsel for the defense protested that a mitigation plea required time to prepare. He was given one hour to do so and the panel of judges retired.
An hour later, Karpal Singh, the defence lawyer, explained the medical problems of his 66 year old client, back injury and heart disease. He asked for a delay of one week for a medical report which would be an essential component of the mitigation plea. However, the judge was urgent he needed to close the case. He was directly challenged and asked whether he denied the relevance of a medical report. Yes, he denied the relevance. Karpal disagreed and refused to enter further pleas. The opportunity to counter the non-existing plea passed to the prosecutor who had well prepared a summary of the most grievous aspects of the case, and of previous cases relating to Anwar. His harangue led to cries of ‘Enough’ from the convicted Anwar and the audience in the public gallery. Several persons, including lawyers in the defence team left the court.
Finally, Karpal played his last card and asked for a delay in execution of the sentence to allow consideration of aspects of the case by the Federal Court. A stay was granted and bail of 10,000 RM imposed to be paid on the following Monday. It was small respite in an act of political savagery which ended the possibility of Anwar’s intended candidacy submission for a Selangor State Assembly by-election on the following Tuesday, and possibly destroys his political career.
The Charge of Sodomy
Whatever opinion one may hold on the complex events which led to the current trial of Anwar, the use of the courts and an antiquated charge to achieve a political aim is unacceptable. The crime of sodomy has long been obsolete in democratic countries. While a forced act of sodomy would of course be an act of criminal aggression, the field of law on which Anwar was challenged was the act of sodomy itself. It is long agreed that the sexual behaviour of the individual is guarded by the right to privacy, and also that sexual orientation is the free right of each person. The criminal charge of sodomy is a survival of British colonial rule which lies dormant in several legal systems of former colonies. Unfortunately, it has found new relevance in Muslim countries which, although they are nominally secular states, add a religious sanction to a crime bypassed by a tolerance which must prevail under democracy. The problem with the criminalization of homosexuality is that it involves emotional stigma and outrage which colours and perturbs legal process. A man may emerge unscathed from a failed charge of murder, but a charge of sodomy is a different matter entirely; the charge itself is an embarrassment making fragile the presumed innocence of the accused. The matter is well left to the give and take of human opinion or to the courts of sharia for those accepting their jurisdiction. The vindictive hounding of Anwar for political motives should not be tolerated on grounds of such inappropriate law.
The Appeal Court of March 6th and 7th
In theory the subject of the Appeal Court against the decision of an earlier appeal court should be limited to the precise technicalities considered suspect in the earlier hearing. But in practice no part of a trial can be excised from general consideration, but unsubstantiated criticism of earlier sections of the trial should not have been tolerated. The prosecutor, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, made capital out of the refusal of Anwar to enter the witness box in the first appeal hearing, implying guilt in exercise of the right to silence by an accused. The day for such an accusation was not the appeal court.
Technical Nature of DNA evidence
The appeal hearing of the 6th and 7th was badgered by the highly technical nature of DNA evidence. Of all those who based their submissions on technical aspects of the DNA evidence, no one, judge, prosecutor or defense attorney had the technical knowledge to do so. Comments on legal aspects of the evidence are matter of the appeal but technical reappraisal of value of the evidence is another matter. At the very least an expert on DNA evidence should have been on standby to answer technical queries on issues which questioned previous evidence. Instead the court was treated to a high speed summary of opinions by Deputy Public Prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin who quoted here and there case histories which could not be assessed by anyone in the court room. During the first trial fully accredited experts gave their assessments and submitted to questioning by prosecution and defense. In the present appeal these witnesses were referred to as “armchair specialists” and their testimony dismissed by name calling. The credentials of these experts had been examined and their testimony accepted in their presence at the earlier trial. Why and by what acceptable legal reasoning was their testimony rejected in their absence and without the compliance of any informed authority?
The Heart of the Matter
The central argument of the prosecution was rejection of the charge of contamination of the DNA samples as presented by the defence. There are three elements to the charge that the samples were contaminated:
- The pristine state claimed by the examining chemists of the DNA evidence conflicts with the likelihood of an expected deterioration. There were unexplained delays in the whole process of examining the DNA. First the witness, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who claimed to have been sodomised, waited two days before reporting the event in a government owned hospital. He avoided defecating in this period. However the moist and biologically active anal channel would not have favoured preservation of DNA. Secondly, after the extraction of swab samples from his anus on a Saturday evening, the samples were placed in individually labeled receptacles and placed in an overall plastic container. They were given into the care of a police officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Jude Blacious Pereira, who was present during the medical examination. Pereira, appointed investigating officer for the case, was instructed to keep the samples in a freezer over the weekend. Ignoring this instruction he left them in his office filing cabinet. Further, although not instructed to do so, he opened the plastic container and relabeled some of the containers. Finally, instead of delivering the samples to a testing laboratory on the Monday morning he did so on Monday evening. The time lapse between the time of the alleged sodomy and examination by the testing laboratory was at least 96 hours. According to expert opinion severe deterioration of the samples would occur under the conditions of storage and length of delay of the sequence. Against the opinion of the expert witnesses referred to earlier the court heard reference to case histories collected by a person having no knowledge of Forensic DNA testing.
- Apart from the first re-labeling of the samples by Pereira, the examining chemist also re-labeled some samples, casting doubt on the identity of the samples which had supposedly come from different regions of the rectum.
- The examining chemist, besides the DNA of the complainant and of Anwar, also detected DNA of another male. Under careful checking this third DNA source was confirmed. If contamination of the samples is excluded what was the origin of this third source? This question was unanswered, putting in doubt the denial of contamination.
- The veracity of the two persons involved in provision and custody of the samples is suspect. If Saiful is truthful in denying that he is homosexual, what is the origin of the third DNA source? Besides, in his original testimony he claimed that the act of sodomy was consensual, while later he charged that the act was forced. Being consensual or not is irrelevant to Malaysian law so that this aspect was ignored, but it does throw suspicion on the veracity of the complainant.
Pereira, for his part, has a history of untruthfulness which led to a refusal of the Malaysian Bar Association to accept his membership.
Interpretation of Justice
While the main protagonists, prosecutor Shafee and defending lawyer Karpal, maintained the façade of learned friendship, their antagonism for each other broke through, leading to rebuke from the bench: Presiding judge Balia Yusof Wahi then sternly ordered all parties to behave. But sodomy is a not a charge suitable for legal debate, and it was to be expected that important issues at the basis of legal process would emerge.
The first attack on basic issues came from the prosecution which questioned the notion of reasonable doubt. Shafee pointed out that beyond reasonable doubt does not imply 100 per cent certainty. No human judgment can attain 100 percent certainty but this shortfall of certainty does not constitute reasonable doubt. This led the prosecution to further precisions. Does the admitted opening of the outside plastic bag in which the samples were stored constitute tampering? Not, Shafee held, if the individual bottles holding the samples were not opened. The prosecution based its case on the integrity of these individual bottles.
Next the prosecution questioned why Anwar did not submit to cross examination during his earlier trial, implying guilt to this exercise of the right to silence.
Karpal responded to the issue of reasonable doubt that while beyond reasonable doubt might be sufficient for prosecution, it had another meaning for the protection of innocence. Although no further explanation was given, the likely meaning is that a lesser doubt should be enough to invalidate a case and thus protect the presumption of innocence, than a larger doubt in the case for the prosecution.
Karpal insisted on the expectation of deterioration of a DNA sample kept without the protection of freezing for a total of 96 hours between the sodomy incident and the examining laboratory. It was also incomprehensible that no degradation at all was observed in some samples while in at least one sample some degradation was observed, although all the samples had gone through the same treatment.
To avoid the suspicion of contamination the prosecution must have some explanation of the third party contamination observed.
The defence further queried the sources of the DNA specifically tested, and proposed that separation of the semen cells from non semen cells was not properly carried out.
The prosecution quoted case histories including one which indicated that sperm had survived in a rectum for 130 hours. However without assessment by expert witness the quotation of such examples is meaningless.
Finally, the question of mitigation of sentence was hard fought between prosecution and defence. Karpal Singh emphasized that mitigation is an integral part of a trial. He insisted that there was no necessity to rush the trial. He recalled that sentencing is about the offender, not the offence, and that a medical report was required before sentencing. He declined to proceed with a submission on mitigation.
In his intervention regarding mitigation, the Prosecutor became vociferous on the enormity of the crime, that it had been inflicted on a subordinate by a person in authority. He referred to past convictions of Anwar, finally likening the case to the infamous Profumo case, implying that Anwar’s action was a National Security Issue, subject to a maximum sentence of 20 years.
The excesses of the prosecution’s arguments against mitigation of sentence lead to noisy protest in the court, and the threat of expulsion of protesters by police.
The judges hurriedly imposed a sentence of five years, but allowed suspension of execution in deference to a Federal Court decision.
Several times Karpal Singh queried the rush to impose sentence. Of course everyone in the court and throughout Malaysia was aware of the issue at stake. It was necessary to impose a criminal sentence on Anwar and so invalidate his declared candidacy before the 11th March, date of registration for the by-election. The trial was politics in motion, and not a campaign to uphold morality by out of date colonial legislation.
The issue of reasonable doubt adapts badly to the emotive charge of sodomy. Courts in democratic countries have long abandoned legislation against sodomy which was notoriously the cause of blackmail, and the legislation regarding homosexuality was referred to as the blackmailer’s charter. This may well be the case in countries where such legislation is still active. But sodomy has also been a tool of political chicanery, it is a charge unused in ordinary circumstances and cases involving sodomy are most rare.
The length and complexity of the court proceeding on this case, and the persistence of unanswered questions is proof that there are indeed reasonable doubts of guilt.
Malaysia must grow democratically to meet the challenge of modern governance. The impatience of the population is palpable, as is support for Anwar Ibrahim who despite election lying and cheating already heads an opposition enjoying a 53% popular vote. It is predictable that public reaction to this trial will be shown clearly in the coming by-election.
Union for Civil Liberty, Bangkok
 The Ides of March is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It became notorious as the date of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. The death of Caesar made the Ides of March a turning point in Roman history that marked the transition from the historical period known as the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire
 See the recent resurgence of the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria, Uganda.
 Charade of Justice, Anwar’s Third Trial, Chapter 8, Pawancheek Maraican, Gerakbudaya Enterprise, Petaling Jaya, 2012.Sodomy II, Chapter 7, Mark Trowell, Mashall Cavendish, Singapore, 2012
 New Straits Times, 7th March 2014, remark of Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, spokesperson of three member bench
 There is a famous story in the Sherlock Holmes series of tales “The dog that did not bark” where the famous detective solves a crime by alluding to the mystery of a watchdog which did not bark, implying that the owner of the dog was guilty of the crime. In the Anwar case there is a mystery of the sample deterioration which did not take place, casting doubt on the related history of the samples.
Press Statement by The Malaysian Bar
By Christopher Leong, President, Malaysian Bar, 9 March 2014
The Malaysian Bar is deeply troubled by the conviction and sentence to five years’ imprisonment of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim by the Court of Appeal, for what was essentially consensual sex between two adults.
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted and sentenced under section 377B, read with section 377A, of the Penal Code.
Section 377A of the Penal Code criminalises sodomy and oral sex (fellatio). Section 377B provides that whosoever voluntarily commits the acts described in section 377A shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to twenty years, and shall also be liable to whipping. These provisions make no distinction between heterosexual and homosexual consensual sexual acts, and are thus applicable to both.
A law is only good and just if it is consistently and equally applied and enforced. It is extraordinary that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been prosecuted and convicted twice, in a country that has rarely seen a prosecution and/or conviction for an offence of consensual sexual acts between adults under section 377A, read with section 377B, of the Penal Code.
This glaring anomaly and inconsistency brings the administration of justice into disrepute. It also fuels a perception that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim is being persecuted, and not prosecuted.
The charge against Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim is based on an archaic provision of the Penal Code, and should never have been brought. The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds, and has muddied the waters of our justice system.
The Malaysian Bar also has grave misgivings with respect to the manner and timing in which the appeal was handled. In particular, we are shocked by the manner in which mitigation and sentencing proceeded.
The Malaysian Bar makes no comment at present as to the grounds for the reversal by the Court of Appeal of the acquittal by the High Court in January 2012 of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim (“Respondent/Defendant”), and his present conviction and sentence by the Court of Appeal, as no written substantive grounds have been proffered as yet, save to say that there appears to be doubt and reservations as to the integrity of the DNA evidence in the case.
However, there are several aspects of this case that raise questions or concerns:
(1) The haste with which the appeal proceeded in the Court of Appeal. No doubt the appeal had been pending since about July last year, but time had been taken with intervening applications on several issues and appeals arising therefrom. It appears that the Respondent/Defendant had been notified on 27 February 2014 that the substantive appeal was to be heard on 6 and 7 March, thus providing his legal counsel Karpal Singh with only seven days’ notice to prepare for a criminal appeal arising from a lengthy trial that had taken many weeks and involved about 32 witnesses, including expert evidence;
(2) This was despite counsel for the Respondent/Defendant having informed the court that he was not available on those dates, as he was scheduled for other cases in court;
(3) It appears that about two weeks before the appeal was heard a registrar from the registry of the Court of Appeal had informed the office of the Respondent/Defendant’s counsel to reserve 7 to 10 April 2014 as the proposed hearing dates for the appeal. The Respondent/Defendant’s counsel apparently agreed to these dates;
(4) It appears that these proposed dates when the Respondent/Defendant’s counsel was available were subsequently abandoned and replaced with much earlier dates;
(5) If this is true, then questions arise in the mind of the public as to why the Court of Appeal brought forward the appeal to be heard, when the originally contemplated dates in early April had already been agreed to by the Respondent/Defendant, and would have provided the Respondent/Defendant, facing a possible sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, more time to prepare for the appeal;
(6) The appeal was heard on 6 and 7 March 2014. It is reported that each day’s proceedings carried into the early hours of the evening, ie between 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Although this is not unheard of, it is nevertheless rare;
(7) It is not uncommon for an appellate court to reserve judgment for a few days or months before handing down a decision, particularly where the proceedings in the trial court have been lengthy, the evidence substantial and the issues weighty;
(8) In this instance, the Court of Appeal had, at the conclusion of submissions by the parties on 7 March 2014, taken approximately 90 minutes to consider the matter, and then rendered a unanimous decision in reversing the acquittal by the High Court and finding the Respondent/Defendant guilty, at approximately 5:00 pm the same day;
(9) 5:00 pm is when the court usually adjourns for the day. On this occasion, the Court of Appeal and the prosecution insisted on proceeding with hearing mitigation and sentencing;
(10) The Respondent/Defendant’s counsel requested an adjournment until the following week, beginning 10 March 2014, to address the court on mitigation and sentencing, and to obtain a medical report concerning the Respondent/Defendant’s medical condition, which would be relevant in considering the sentence to be imposed. The Court of Appeal refused this request, and instead gave counsel one hour to prepare for mitigation and sentencing;
(11) Upon reconvening after about one hour’s recess, the Court of Appeal and the prosecution accepted counsel’s contention that the Respondent/Defendant suffers from medical conditions such as back pains, high blood pressure, and a heart ailment. They accepted that these were relevant to sentencing, but refused to allow time for a medical report to be prepared and provided to the court.
(12) The Court of Appeal had thus denied itself relevant medical information pertaining to the particulars or peculiarities (if any), and extent of, the Respondent/Defendant’s medical condition before considering the appropriate sentence to be imposed; and
(13) The Court of Appeal pronounced a sentence of five years’ imprisonment, and the proceedings concluded at approximately 7:00 pm.
These matters raise many questions, cause much speculation, and lend to the perception that justice may have been hijacked.
The questions to be answered, in the mind of the public, are thus, “Was the cause of justice best served by the manner and timing in which this appeal was handled?” and, “Was the administration of justice compromised or interfered with?”
The sanctity of the administration of justice and the independence of the Judiciary are intertwined, and essential for upholding the rule of law and instilling public confidence. Justice and independence are not only facts to be established; it is imperative that they are seen to be so established.
It is heart-rending, for those who sacrifice and work hard in good faith to protect and defend the administration of justice, and to maintain and promote the independence of the Judiciary, when public confidence in these two precepts may be shaken or in jeopardy.
I have been receiving calls from the Turkish Prime Minister, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the Governor of Bangkok, Mr Sukumbhan Paribatra; former President of Indonesia, Mr Jusuf Habibie and renowned Islamic Scholar, Dr Yusul al-Qaradawi since the Appeal Court judgment on the 7th of March. They have all expressed grave concerns over the manner on how the case was rushed and the subsequent ruling.
I was also visited by the American Ambassador to Malaysia, Mr Joseph Yun and his political officers at my residence on the 9th of March who have also express similar concerns. They have committed to convey these to President Obama soon.
The charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted, the Bar Council said.
Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong (pic) said that in the first place, the archaic provision under the Penal Code which criminalises sodomy and oral sex should never have been brought against Anwar.
“The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds, and has muddied the waters of our justice system.
The Court of Appeal had found Anwar guilty of sodomy on Friday, overturning the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s January 2012 decision that had found him innocent.
Leong, in a statement today, said that Anwar’s legal team was notified on February 27 that substantive appeal would be heard on March 6 and 7, and that lawyer Karpal Singh only had seven days to prepare for a criminal appeal over a case that had gone through a lengthy trial and which involved 32 witnesses, including expert evidence.
According to Leong, prior to this, the Court of Appeal registry had informed Anwar’s lawyers to reserve April 7 to 10 as the proposed hearing dates, to which the team agreed.
However, these dates were abandoned and replaced with earlier dates.
“If this is true, it raises the question as to why the Court of Appeal brought forward the appeal to be heard when the April dates had been agreed on.
“After all the defendant was facing a possible 20-year jail term and the April dates would have given the legal team more time to prepare,” he said.
Leong further said that while the hearing of the appeal which extended until past 6pm was not unheard of, it was a rare occurrence.
Further to this, after hearing submissions on March 7, the court had taken approximately 90 minutes to consider before giving a unanimous decision in reversing the acquittal by the High Court.
The panel then rejected Karpal’s request for an adjournment to the following week for the mitigation and sentencing for the purpose of obtaining a medical report on Anwar and instead gave the legal team one hour to prepare.
The Court of Appeal then sentenced Anwar to five years jail that evening with proceedings ending only at 7pm.
“These matters raise many questions, cause much speculation, and lend to the perception that justice may have been hijacked, Leong said.
He said that questions that must be answered was whether the cause of justice was best served by the manner and timing in which this appeal was handled and whether the administration of justice was compromised or interfered with.
“Justice and independence are not only facts to be established, it is imperative that they are seen to be so established,” Leong said.
The Court of Appeal’s conviction of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy and the five-year jail sentence meted out to him just four days before the Kajang by-election campaigning kicks off will result in a public backlash against Barisan Nasional (BN), political analysts said.
Professor Ahmad Atory Hussain, a political science lecturer from Universiti Sains Malaysia said the latest development was likely to deliver Pakatan Rakyat (PR) a bigger win in the state seat this time.
He said there is every possibility political parties from both sides of the divide will play on the sentiments of the people as they campaign towards polling day on March 23.
“With about 75% of Selangor voters supporting PR for two terms now, it is logical to conclude that the state seat will return to PKR with perhaps a bigger majority… it will be miraculous if BN can win it,” he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday after the appellate court overturned the High Court’s acquittal of Anwar on a charge of sodomising his former aide six years ago.
Anwar was Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate after polls were triggered by the resignation of its assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh on January 27, but with his conviction, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli is widely tipped to run for the state seat.
Ahmad Atory said issues BN could use against PR include the internal strife plaguing the three component parties, which may not even be relevant or strong enough to change Kajang voters’ minds.
He also said Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim will likely stay as head of government.
Khalid could possibly become PKR deputy president too, should he contest the post, he added.
“He may be more suitable for the post because he has had over a term in office as Menteri Besar to show his performance and he has delivered.
“People have seen what he can do and he has many supporters in Selangor. What has (PKR deputy president) Azmin Ali delivered so far as MP?” said Ahmad Atory.
“I foresee a tough fight involving personalities like Khalid, Azmin and party vice-president Tian Chua in the May party election,” he added.
Asked to comment on criticisms against the justice system following the Court of Appeal’s verdict, Ahmad Atory said it would be unfair to write off the entire judiciary just because people disagreed with the decision of judges.
“I admit the people will perceive the judiciary negatively now but we have no way of knowing what happened,” he said.
Penang Institute fellow and political and social analyst Dr Wong Chin Huat told The Malaysian Insider in a text message that Anwar has become a “martyr and a symbol of BN tyranny”.
He said the government will see how angry the people are, with messages of “Reformase 2.0″ overflowing on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Last night PKR deputy president Azmin Ali declared the beginning of Reformasi 2.0 to hundreds of supporters who had converged at the party’s election centre at Kampung Sungai Sekamat, Kajang, urging BN’s ouster.
“PKR’s candidate will ride on the public opinion of anger and sympathy and if the right candidate is chosen for the Kajang by-election, BN may experience a humiliating defeat and even a lose its deposit,” Wong said.
Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, concurred, describing Anwar’s conviction as a rallying point for PR, one that would tip the by-election in the opposition’s favour.
“The conviction will be used as a focus point by Pakatan Rakyat. You can expect the coalition to be more vocal and stronger,” he said.
Anwar was found not guilty of sodomising Saiful in January 2012 at the end of the defence case. The prosecution filed an appeal against the decision, which led to the appellate court overturning the High Court’s verdict on Friday.
Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim decision a “bleak day for justice”
The conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of ‘sodomy’ should be quashed, Amnesty International said.
A court in Malaysia today overturned the acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim on politically motivated ‘sodomy’ charges. The court upheld a government appeal against a 2012 High Court decision that cleared Ibrahim of all charges, citing a lack of evidence.
“This is a bleak day for justice in Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim has been consistently harassed by the authorities for years in a blatant attempt to silence one of the opposition’s most important voices and bar him from participating in elections,” said Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher.
“Unfortunately this fits a broader pattern of severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in Malaysia. Opposition politicians, human rights defenders and civil society organizations are among those that have been targeted over the past year.”
“The fact that the Malaysian authorities still consider ‘sodomy’ to be a crime is deeply disturbing in itself. The government must repeal the ‘sodomy’ law, a repressive statute that enables this kind of politically motivated persecution.”
Laws criminalizing consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex are contrary to international human rights law.
If Anwar Ibrahim is detained, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience.
Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has accused Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government of orchestrating his conviction and five-year jail sentence for sodomy and warned it would “face the wrath of the people”.
“This is a travesty of justice,” Anwar declared after the conviction was delivered amid uproar in Kuala Lumpur’s Court of Appeal. “This has been choreographed.”
The verdict has inflamed tensions in the country after divisive and disputed elections last year and shattered Anwar’s plans to take control of the country’s richest state.
International human rights groups have condemned the four-year pursuit of 66-year-old Anwar on a rarely used colonial-era charge as politically motivated and a miscarriage of justice aimed at ending his political career.
The conviction, which Anwar has appealed, blocks him from contesting a by-election on March 23 for Selangor, the country’s most populous state, where he planned to become chief minister, providing a platform for him to launch a new bid to topple the government.
“It is a clear signal to the people of Malaysia that they [the government] are not interested in economic malaise but they are interested in killing their political opponents,” Anwar said.
Earlier Anwar, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister, said there was “absolutely no case” for him to answer and “this is clearly seen to be political”.
“You have got want you wanted,” Anwar shouted to the judges after the unanimous verdict was announced.
Judges allowed bail of $2973 to be posted on Monday.
Anwar’s 61-year-old wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, a leading opposition politician, wept in the packed court room and supporters chanted “reformation” and “free Anwar”.
Anwar has been a potent threat to the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled the country since its independence from Britain in 1957.
His opposition has made deep inroads into its parliamentary majority in the past two national elections, winning the most votes at elections last May but falling short of an historic victory because of a gerrymandered electoral system that favours Muslim voters in rural areas.
Anwar was arrested in 2008 on charges of having intercourse with a male aide.
He had already spent six years in jail on sodomy and corruption charges after he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and lost his status as heir apparent to then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
He was found guilty of the 2008 charge but, after a long series of delays, the High Court in January 2012 acquitted him after a judge found that crucial DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution might have been compromised.
Human rights groups condemned the decision by prosecutors to launch an appeal against the acquittal.
The crime that criminalises “carnal intercourse against the course of nature” provides punishment of up to 20 years.
But the United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled it contravenes international legal standards and should be abolished.
The International Commission of Jurists condemned Anwar’s conviction as a miscarriage of justice, saying it “casts doubts on the independence and impartiality of the Malaysian judiciary and tarnishes the reputation of the country’s legal system”.
The ICJ’s observer at the court was its commissioner Justice Elizabeth Evatt, a former chief judge of Australia’s Family Court.
A government spokesperson saidMalaysia had an independent judiciary.
“This is a case between two individuals and is a matter for the courts, not the government,” the spokesperson said.
Malaysia’s Lawyers for Liberty said the conviction on a “clearly trumped up and politically motivated charge” reaffirmed “the return of iron-fist authoritarian rule and Najib Razak’s false reformist credentials”.
Anwar’s wheelchair-bound lawyer Karpal Singh, 73, who is also a leading opposition figure, was found guilty of sedition last month, a law the government had pledged to abolish in the run-up to the last election. He faces sentencing on March 11.
Phil Robertson, deputy director, Asia division of Human Rights Watch, said Anwar’s trial “was all about knocking him out of politics and the government was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen”.
Many routes to Putrajaya
Apabila “Langkah Kajang” diumumkan sebagai penjelasan mengapa Anwar Ibrahim perlu bertanding dalam pilihan raya kecil (PRK) Kajang, ada yang menyokong dan ada yang membantah, dan ada pula yang keliru.
Seperti mana yang dijelaskan oleh Pengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli, langkah itu merupakan usaha mempertahankan Selangor daripada komplot Umno merampas kuasa, dan seterusnya menjadi platform Pakatan Rakyat menuju ke Putrajaya.
Banyak suara sumbang kedengaran di kalangan Pakatan Rakyat, khususnya dari PKR sendiri, yang tak puas hati, marah dan geram dengan keputusan Anwar.
Lee Chin Cheh meletak jawatan sebagai Adun Kajang pada 27 Januari. Pada 5 Februari, Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) menetapkan 23 Mac sebagai hari mengundi.
Sewaktu kalangan Pakatan Rakyat masih berbalah tentang Langkah Kajang, tiba-tiba Mahkamah pada 28 Februari menetapkan 6 dan 7 Mac untuk mendengar rayuan terhadap pembebasan Anwar dalam kes liwat II.
Semalam, pada 7 Mac, Mahkamah Rayuan mendapati Anwar bersalah. Dengan itu, Anwar yang sudah bebas daripada tuduhan pada 9 Januari 2012 oleh Mahkamah Tinggi kini dianggap bersalah pula atas tuduhan tersebut.
Semalam juga, Mahkamah menjatuhkan hukuman penjara lima tahun terhadap Anwar.
Sepatutnya Selasa ini, 11 Mac, Anwar akan mengemukakan borang pencalonan PRK Kajang. Kini keputusan Mahkamah menghalang Anwar daripada bertanding.
Jadi Anwar tak boleh bertanding dan tak boleh menang, dan tentunya tak boleh menjadi Menteri Besar Selangor; dan pastinya menyukarkan jalan ke arah Putrajaya.
Inikah yang dimahukan oleh segelintir dari kalangan Pakatan Rakyat?
Ketika kalangan Pakatan sedang berbalah dahulu, pimpinan Barisan Nasional (BN) amat bimbang dengan Langkah Kajang. Sewaktu kalangan Pakatan Rakyat beradu-domba, pimpinan BN mula mengorak langkah.
Ini bererti BN benar-benar takut dengan Langkah Kajang. Mereka bimbang kemungkinan Anwar akan mengorak langkah menuju Putrajaya. Kerana ia bererti berakhirnya era BN.
Kerana itu Anwar perlu dikorbankan demi mempertahankan kuasa Umno-BN. Kerana itu Anwar berterusan menjadi mangsa konspirasi BN yang menyeksa kehidupan politik dan keluarga beliau.
Sayangnya masih ada segelintir kalangan Pakatan Rakyat yang tak nampak, tak sedar dan mungkin tak peduli semua ini. Mungkin hati mereka berada di tempat lain.
The charges against Anwar seemed cooked up and malicious, but government prosecutors pressed ahead anyway
Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial, which ran almost two years before ending in 2012, was condemned internationally by legal scholars and human rights activists.
He was eventually acquitted for lack of evidence only to have an appeals court reverse that decision, ruling in favor of a government appeal on Friday. He was sentenced to five years in prison but is free on bail pending appeal. Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia.
The sudden reversal on Friday shocked political observers and the general public.
Sordid and Unbelievable
The story began on June 28, 2008 when a then-24-year-old aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhairy Azlan, made the sodomy accusation against Anwar, who had had led the three-party Pakatan Rakyat coalition to a historic sweep of five Malaysian states, winning 82 parliamentary seats in general elections and breaking the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition’s two-thirds majority hold on parliament.
Despite an offer to appear voluntarily at the police station to deal with the charges, the opposition leader was arrested at his home on July 16 of that year by a contingent of 10 carloads of police commandos and was locked up overnight in a Kuala Lumpur jail.
The trial, which began in February 2010, was marred by the introduction of a mountain of questionable evidence, egregious prosecutorial errors and a long series of prejudicial rulings by High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah.
From the very beginning, doubts began to surface. To start with, Saiful belatedly sought to get doctors to certify that he had been sodomized 48 hours after the alleged encounter. He first went to a private hospital where a doctor found no evidence of penetration and told him to go to a government hospital. At the first government hospital, doctors also told him they had found no evidence of tearing or scarring that would have indicated his anus had been penetrated. He was forced to go to a third government hospital where he finally found a physician willing to say the act had taken place.
Saiful acknowledged in court that he had met with then-Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, on June 24, 2008, two days before the alleged sodomy took place and on other occasions with Rosmah’s close confidant, the former track star Mumtaz Jaafar. Neither the prime minister nor his wife nor Mumtaz was called to the stand to explain why they met with Saiful.
There were many questions about the DNA, which was allegedly taken from Saiful’s rectum 90 hours after the reported act took place. He claimed not to have eaten, drunk nor gone to the bathroom for that entire period.
The evidence was stored in an unguarded police office. Government laboratory technicians testified that as many as 11 different DNA traces had been found in Saiful’s rectum. At one point Zabidin ruled that the DNA was too doubtful to be admitted, only to have the prosecution appeal, at which point the judge reversed himself, leading to charges he had been coerced.
There were even questions whether Saiful had actually met with Anwar on the date he allegedly was sodomized. Although cameras showed him in the lift of the building where the offence allegedly took place, Anwar said he was meeting with a group of economists in the condo at the time and that Saiful had not appeared in the room.
Saiful also acknowledged meeting secretly twice with Rodwan Mohd Yusof, a senior assistant police commissioner, before the alleged offense took place. Rodwan became famous, or infamous, in Anwar’s 1998 Sodomy I trial when he was found to have illegally removed Anwar’s DNA samples from forensic custody and planted them on a mattress allegedly used by Anwar for a homosexual dalliance. To protect the integrity of the prosecution’s case, the presiding judge, Augustine Paul, expunged the entire DNA evidence at the time.
Saiful testified that on the day he allegedly met with Anwar, he had taken lubricant with him to Anwar’s condominium – hardly the act of an innocent aide who had no idea that the then 63-year-old Anwar was about to jump him for unnatural sex.
It also became known during that Saiful was having a sexual liaison with Farah Azlina Latif, a female member of the prosecution team, which might have further disqualified him as a complaining witness.
The family apologizes
Saiful’s father, Azlan Mohd Lazim in March 2013, apologized to Anwar at a press conference and said the plot to have Anwar arrested was cooked up in Najib’s office. He said his son had been used by “irresponsible quarters” and that statements that both he and his son gave to the press during and after the trial were written by his lawyer and a special officer in Najib’s office.
“Anwar is innocent and a victim of this slander… as such I apologize to Anwar and his family,” Azlan said in a printed statement.” He and his family have suffered a lot as a result of this slander. I deeply regret all the slander hurled against Anwar, which involved my son Saiful Bukhairi.”
The case “was planned in great detail by a special officer in the PM’s Department,” Azlan said. “Even the script I read during the press conference after Anwar’s sodomy acquittal last year was prepared by this officer.”
His son, he said, “has never explained the sodomy incident and the accusation to me. I was never called as a witness in the case. I was never called by any party to offer my statement as the father from the start to the end of the trial.”
Although he was always seen accompanying his son during the trial, Azlan explained that he did so simply as a father who was giving moral support. Azlan said he decided to make his statement after collecting information obtained during the trial, as well as that sent to him by the public.
“As a Malay and a Muslim, I started to realize the evil of this plan. I don’t want to continue to conspire with this malicious slander. I want the people who love this country to know their malicious intention,” he said. “If this malicious intention continues, not only the Malays and Muslims would be destroyed, but the nation would be destroyed as well. I do not want to see this happen.”