Malaysia: Rights groups welcome Anwar Ibrahim’s release after more than three years of arbitrary detention

Kuala Lumpur, Paris, 16 May 2018: FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcome the early release of former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, following a pardon granted by Malaysia’s King today.

Continue reading “Malaysia: Rights groups welcome Anwar Ibrahim’s release after more than three years of arbitrary detention”

Malaysia: Release Anwar Ibrahim, arbitrarily detained for 1,000 days

FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights

and its member organization in Malaysia

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Joint press release

Paris, Kuala Lumpur, 6 November 2017: The Malaysian government must immediately and unconditionally release former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, FIDH and its member organization Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) said today, to mark 1,000 days of Anwar’s latest imprisonment. Anwar, who turned 70 in August, remains incarcerated in Sungai Buloh prison, Selangor State.

“Today marks 1,000 days of shame for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration. Anwar should not have spent a single day in prison and the government has completely ignored UN calls for his release. Anwar must be freed now,” said FIDH President Dimitris Christopoulos.

In an opinion adopted on 1 September 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) deemed Anwar’s detention arbitrary and called for his immediate release and the reinstatement of his political rights.

FIDH and SUARAM also reiterate their call for Malaysian authorities to guarantee Anwar’s rights, including his rights to receive adequate medical care in accordance with relevant international standards.

Anwar is suffering from continuous pain to his right shoulder, which was worsened by a recent car accident that took place during his transfer from Kuala Lumpur General Hospital (KLHG) to Sungai Buloh prison in late September 2017. At KLGH, Anwar received treatment for high blood pressure.

On 16 October 2017, during a prison visit by his family members, Anwar complained of not being able to move his right shoulder and perform basic functions like writing without suffering acute pain. Orthopedic specialists recommended that Anwar undergo a shoulder replacement surgery due to the tear in his shoulder rotator cuff. However, the prison’s medical facility in ill-equipped to perform such surgery and prison authorities have denied Anwar’s requests to receive surgery outside of the prison.

Rule 24 of the United Nations (UN) Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (also known as the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’) states that prisoners “should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community.” Rule 27 stipulates that “prisons shall ensure prompt access to medical attention in urgent cases” and that “prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”

“The Malaysian authorities’ ongoing denial of Anwar’s right to receive adequate medical treatment while he is being arbitrarily detained is unconscionable. Prisoners have rights and Anwar should not be subjected to physical suffering that may amount to torture or ill-treatment,” said SUARAM Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy.


Anwar Ibrahim has been detained since 10 February 2015, when the Federal Court in Putrajaya upheld the Court of Appeals’ decision to convict Anwar on charges of sodomy (Article 377 of the Criminal Code) and sentenced him to five years in prison. FIDH observed both the Court of Appeals and the Federal Court hearings for Anwar and found that the proceedings failed to meet international standards for fair trials.

On 18 January 2017, the Court of Appeals ruled that Anwar has standing to petition the Federal Court to determine if he has the constitutional right to challenge the Pardons Board’s decision to reject his request for clemency. A date for the case to be heard in the Federal Court has not been set.

Anwar’s family filed a petition for a royal pardon to the Malaysian King on 24 February 2015. The request was rejected by the Pardons Board, which advises the King on candidates for clemency, on 16 March 2015. On 24 June 2015, Anwar and his family filed a legal challenge against the Pardons Board’s decision. On 15 July 2016, the Kuala Lumpur High Court dismissed Anwar’s challenge.

If his bid to obtain clemency fails, Anwar is expected to be released by mid-2018, as a result of the Malaysian practice to grant a one-third reduction of jail terms to prisoners with good behavior. However, the conviction renders him ineligible to stand as a candidate in the next general election that must be held by 2018.

Press contacts:

FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) – Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)

FIDH: Ms. Audrey Couprie (French, English) – Tel: +33143551412 (Paris)

SUARAM: Mr. Sevan Doraisamy (English, Malay) – Tel: + 60169708370 (Kuala Lumpur)

1 Year of Arbitrary Detention of Anwar Ibrahim

For Immediate Release
10 February 2016

1 Year of Arbitrary Detention of Anwar Ibrahim

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) condemns the continued detention of Anwar Ibrahim and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

The arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim have been condemned globally by all quarters for a myriad of reasons that threaten to undermine the legal institution and human rights in Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia cannot in good conscience remain apathetic and deny all responsibility for the arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim.

The manner in which state control media have publicized and spin the case against Anwar Ibrahim and the Judiciary’s decision to accept evidence that have been tempered with in manners non-compliant with recognized standard operating procedures have cast a shadow of doubt in the legitimacy of the case against Anwar Ibrahim and reaffirmed the sentiment that his case was politically motivated and that the whole prosecution and detention was designed to weaken the opposition coalition in Malaysia.

The conclusion drawn by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) in November 2015 in regards to the arrest and detention of Anwar Ibrahim clearly affirms this sentiment. Despite the conclusion by UNWGAD, the Government of Malaysia have wilfully chose to deny the findings and refused to take actions to address the injustice done against Anwar Ibrahim.

The callous manner in which the Government of Malaysia have responded to the finding by UNWGAD can only be interpreted as an act of denial and an effort to maintain the Government of Malaysia’s façade of compliance with international human rights norms and principles.

Once again, SUARAM reiterate its strongest condemnation for the arrest, prosecution and detention of Anwar Ibrahim and call for his immediate and unconditional release.

In solidarity,

Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director

End All Political Prosecution and Persecution!

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) welcomes the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s stance on the detention of Anwar Ibrahim and fully supports the call for the Government of Malaysia to release Anwar Ibrahim and the reinstate all of his political rights that was denied following his conviction.

Arbitrary detention of any individual should not be the norm of any states and government irrespective of their political ideology and must not be the tool for government to suppress political dissidence. The idea where a person’s right to liberty and security of person can be compromised thus based on the whim of those in power is highly unconscionable and must be condemned and stopped whenever possible.

Recalling the politically motivated arrests and prosecution of Anwar Ibrahim, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Mathias Chang and many more, SUARAM call for the Government of Malaysia to immediately release all political detainees and ensure that these cases would be the last in Malaysia. To achieve this, the Government of Malaysia MUST take sincere steps in repealing ALL laws that permits detention without trials and other repressive laws such as the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, the Sedition Act 1948 and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and ensure that all those that have been detained under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2015, Prevention of Crime Act 1959 and Dangerous Drug (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985 have a chance to stand trial in a court of law without further delay and detention.

On this note, SUARAM calls for the immediate release of all political detainees, including but not limited to Anwar Ibrahim and drop all politically motivated charges against politicians and human rights defender including but not limited to Sivarasa Rasiah, Zunar, Maria Chin, Azmi Sharom, Khalid Ismath, Eric Paulsen, Jannie Lasimbang, Adam Adli and Lena Hendry.

SUARAM also demand that the Government of Malaysia provide a fair and transparent trial for all those accused of a crime under the repressive laws mentioned above and take positive step in repealing these laws and replace them with laws that are in line with the democratic principles enshrined in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.

Failure to do so would only condemn Malaysia as an authoritarian states in the eyes of our peers on the international stage and irreparably ruin our image as a democratic country.

In Solidarity
Sevan Doraisamy
Executive Director