Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) , in the strongest possible terms, decries the Federal Court’s shocking decision on 10 February 2015 to uphold the Court of Appeal’s verdict and reaffirm Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction under Article 377B of the Penal Code for allegedly sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. This is the second time that Anwar has been charged under the country’s sodomy laws.
The Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial which went on for almost seven years since 2008, was condemned universally by legal practitioners and human rights activists, not only because circumstances demonstrated a politically motivated prosecution, but also because the court proceeding went against all known legal principles governing fairness of a trial.
Although the Federal Court’s decision is deeply regretted, it however, attests to general conviction on the frailty of our criminal justice system. Anwar and his legal team have repeatedly raised serious questions that impinged on fair trial standards including the complainant’s meeting with the Prime Minister and senior officials before the alleged incident; tampering of evidence including planting of DNA evidence; the medical report of the complainant that showed no penetration and so on. All these, were swiftly and unjustly dismissed by the judges.
Anwar has been sentenced to five years imprisonment, effectively losing his Permatang Pauh Parliamentary seat and position as the parliamentary opposition leader, and hence ending his political career.
The government’s unrelenting persecution against Anwar extended beyond the case. In August 2014, Anwar’s key lawyer, N. Surendran was charged twice under the Sedition Act for mere criticism of the Court of Appeal’s judgment on the sodomy case. A month after N. Surendran’s charges, Anwar was again called for an investigation under sedition for an allegedly seditious comment made on 25 March 2011.
The fact that Anwar was convicted in a preposterous trial illustrates the ruling coalition’s fundamental insecurity and unwillingness to face serious questions about their performance, as well as their desperation to hold on to power, regardless of the ramifications to Malaysia’s integrity.
We condemn today’s totally unjust Federal Court judgement and call on the Malaysian people to work towards reclaiming a truly just and democratic judicial system in this country to guarantee the people’s fundamental liberties and freedom.