SUARAM is appalled by the decision by the Prisons Director to restrict Anwar Ibrahim’s access to his legal advisors. The right to legal advice must be respected in order to ensure that justice can be done for those involved. Without adequate legal counsel and representation, individuals who find themselves in any legal proceeding would not be able to adequately prepare for it. As one of the key players in the criminal justice system, the Malaysian Prisons Department must uphold detainees’ right to legal counsel in order for justice to be done.
By denying and limiting Anwar Ibrahim’s access to legal counsel, the Malaysian Prisons Department have clearly made a conscious choice to compromise the Malaysian legal system. Unless actions are taken to remedy this undue restriction, the Prisons Department would be perceived as a malicious agent against fairness and equality under the law.
SUARAM thus calls on the Malaysian Prisons Department to act in a responsible manner and fulfil its legal and moral obligations in upholding the right to legal counsel. Furthermore, the decision to restrict Anwar Ibrahim’s access to legal counsel also limits his lawyers’ ability to discharge their duties in a manner that is in line with the professional standards expected of them.
With this in mind, SUARAM demands that the Prisons Director and other relevant government agencies cease their undue interference with Anwar Ibrahim’s right to legal counsel and allow Anwar Ibrahim adequate access to legal counsel so that they can discharge their duties and obligations.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)