Today marks day 415 of Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration.
On the 10th of March, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted Malaysia and the plight of Anwar Ibrahim at Human Rights Council’s 31st session. In the statement Prince Zeid said:
“In Malaysia, democratic space continues to be limited, with the Government applying “sedition” and other charges to an ever-widening circle of journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and critical voices. The enactment of the Prevention of Terrorist Act and the National Security Council Act, without proper human rights safeguards, and without transparent and consultative process, is also a matter of concern. The imprisonment of a former opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim – whose detention has been ruled arbitrary by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – is emblematic of a broader democratic malaise.”
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on the 23rd of March adopted a strong and clear resolution for Malaysia and Anwar Ibrahim citing:
“Decisions on cases in Malaysia include calls for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be released from prison following new information that his trial and subsequent conviction were not based on legal considerations. IPU is, nevertheless, pleased by assurances that Anwar Ibrahim would receive medical treatment by a doctor of his own choosing. The Organization, however, remains concerned by Malaysia’s amended Sedition Act and Peaceful Assembly Act which have been used against 19 other MPs exercising their right as parliamentarians to speak and assemble freely.”
On the local front, Anwar was transferred to Kuala Lumpur General Hospital from the 15th to the 17th for follow up check up. While his general health remains stable, his shoulder injury necessitates surgery to alleviate pain and allow for full mobility of his right shoulder. He continues to be denied proper intensive physiotherapy in hospital – two to three times a week as recommended by shoulder specialists.
Anwar appeared in court representing himself for the first time on the 22nd of March. He was forced to act as his own counsel after the prison authorities restricted his access to lawyers to only one hour a week despite 16 on going cases in court. This serious breach of his legal rights makes it impossible for Anwar and his team to adequately prepare for his legal defence. He has officially made requests for access to the Internet and legal literature to allow him to adequately prepare for cases.
In the RM100 million defamation suit case against Malaysian United Indian Party (MUIP) president S Nallakaruppan, Anwar successfully cross examined and cleared his name as S Nallakaruppan denied vehemently uttering the statement he made against Anwar during the 2008 by election that was deemed defamatory. Having cleared his name unequivocally in court, Anwar withdrew his suit.
The following week, 27th of March, Anwar again appeared in court representing himself. This time for an appeal to the decision of the Royal Pardon Board. In February 2015, the family of Anwar applied for a royal pardon to the King of Malaysia on the 5-year sentence imposed on Anwar citing miscarriage of justice.
However the Pardon Board rejected the application. Anwar’s family is citing conflict of interest as the Attorney General (at that time the Attorney General was Gani Patail) sits on the Pardon Board. His involvement with Anwar’s case is well known, as he remains a key player in the conviction of Anwar in both 1998 case and the recent case.
The application itself was eventually held in chambers behind closed doors with no one allowed to enter except for the applicants. Lawasia and IPU representative, Mark Trowell, who wrote in earlier requesting permission to be allowed in as an international observer remarked that although he respects the decision of the judge he went on to say “The international community is still interested and concerned about legal proceedings concerning Anwar Ibrahim” and the judge should have used her discretion to allow international observers.
The application was later postponed to 4th of April 2016 to allow Anwar to review the senior federal counsel’s last minute submission on the matter.
We thank you for your concern and support. We will try our best to update as time goes on. Meanwhile, we leave you with a video we recently released.
Family of Anwar Ibrahim
“I hope Malaysians will continue to push for institutional reforms, a change in the judiciary system and most paramount the Election Commission, and other genuine changes. Not only a change of personalities” – Anwar Ibrahim on the 28th of March after court hearing