Press Statement: 16 May 2011
Sodomy II: The Crumbling Credibility of the Malaysian Judiciary Reaffirmed!
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) is most concerned with the outcome of the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning, where trial judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah, has found a prima facie case against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and has ordered him to enter his defence.
Anwar is charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008. If found guilty under section 377B of the Penal Code, Anwar could face a jail term of not less than five years and a maximum of 20 years.
SUARAM has expressed concern during the trial with the apparent bias of the court proceedings; which was demonstrated time and again when Anwar’s defence team was denied access to medical reports and other documents, a defendant’s fundamental right to due process.
This led to the ridiculous scenario of doctors, who were being cross-examined by defence lawyers, but who were unable to refer to notes that they had made during the medical examination of Saiful Bukhari, since access to the notes would also have to be granted to the defence.
SUARAM also disagrees with the judge’s acceptance of the testimony of the three doctors; as it is clear that there are clear contradictions in their testimonies; to be the basis that there was indeed penetration, which requires the defence to call its case. But then again the trial judge himself had shown so much inconsistency by reversing his decision, from initially rejecting to accepting the DNA samples obtained from the lockup room where Anwar was detained.
In delivering his decision, the trial judge was reported to have commented on the credibility and truthfulness of the main witness in the case, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. SUARAM is concerned with the judge’s comments as he appears to have prejudged the case before the defence has presented its case. It is laughable that the trial judge would go out of his way to say that Saiful Bukhari was a “credible and truthful witness” when the said witness has given contradictory statements and was even romantically involved with one of the prosecutors in the case.
It is important to note that that the very basis of Anwar’s defence is that there is a political conspiracy to victimise him and as such, illogical and unlikely claims, loopholes in stories and inconsistencies in the testimonies cannot be disregarded and must be given due consideration. SUARAM feels that the judge, in establishing that there is prima facie, had not taken account of these factors.
This morning’s outcome has reconfirmed what SUARAM has repeatedly warned all along; that the courts have become mere puppets to the government of the day, succumbing to political pressures and making biased political decisions instead of legal decisions based on justice and fair play. The credibility of the Malaysian judiciary is further crumbling, as the ruling powers bend over backwards to hold on to their might and strengthen their grip on power.
Hasbeemasputra Abu Bakar