It is a very sad day for opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his fellow supporters. The petition filed against the verdict of his conviction has been rejected by Malaysia’s Pardon Board. Now Anwar’s final legal option is to file a judicial review with the Federal Court; his lawyers have yet to announce their decision on the application.
Anwar has been a strong political figure in Malaysia, firmly upholding his antagonistic stance against the national government since the late 1990’s – as a result he has repeatedly and unjustly served time in prison.
In 1998, Anwar worked closely with PM Mahathir as finance minister. During the Asian Financial Crisis their conflicting opinions on how to resolve the economy came to a head. In September of 1998 Anwar was arrested with his first accusations of sodomy. The international community objected his conviction and alleged Anwar a prisoner of conscious. In 2004, Anwar’s nine-year long prison sentence was shortened and he was released after six years. Abiding by the Malaysian law banning his involvement in politics for five years following his release, Anwar taught at many esteemed universities.
By 2008 he won re-election and returned to Parliament as leader of the Malaysian opposition. In June of this year Anwar was accused, again, of sodomy. In his 2012 trial he was found not guilty, however not two weeks later the prosecution filed an appeal against the acquittal. By 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the appeal and sentenced him to five more years in prison. Although the Humans Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists accused the Malaysian Government of interfering with the judicial matter, Anwar’s sentencing was upheld by the Federal Court in February of this year. Anwar has since been sent to Sungai Buloh Prison.
Anwar Ibrahim has been condemned by Malaysia’s corrupt government. His release will not come without pressures from the international community. It is up to us to insist on Anwar’s freedom!
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The Malaysian Insider: Pardons Board Rejects Anwar’s Petition
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The Pardons Board has rejected a petition from jailed opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year prison term for sodomy, his lawyers said today.
The petition was filed by Anwar’s family in February after his sentence was upheld by the Federal Court. There was no immediate comment about the ruling from Malaysia’s government, Reuters reported today.
Anwar, who once posed the greatest threat to Malaysia’s long-ruling coalition, was found guilty of sodomising a former aide, a charge that he said was a politically motivated attempt to end his career.
On March 27, sources told The Malaysian Insider that the application by Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and daughter Nurul Izzah was disposed of on March 16.
However, it is not known whether Anwar, Dr Wan Azizah and Nurul were officially notified.
On the same day, senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh had submitted an affidavit to the court and lawyers N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya that the board had disposed of the petition.
He said that an affidavit affirmed by the director-general of the legal division of the Prime Minister’s Department has been sent to the applicants.
The affidavit states that Anwar’s custodial sentence should be maintained.
The director-general of the legal division sits on the secretariat of the board, which is chaired by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.
This also means that the Permatang Pauh MP seat, which Anwar holds, will soon be declared vacant.
Anwar’s last legal option is to file a judicial review with the Federal Court. His lawyers said no decision had been made yet on such an application.
The rejection of the royal pardon came after a series of #KitaLawan rallies organised by PKR after his jailing, although turnout was low at the latest rally last week.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua, meanwhile, said Anwar’s lawyers were disputing the announcement.
“No one has received anything… neither Anwar nor the family, nor the lawyers. So the lawyers are insisting that it must be given in black and white.
“We will wait for a formal reply from the Palace. It has to come directly from the Palace to the applicants, you can’t just put in the affidavit and make such claims,” he said in the Parliament lobby today.
With this latest development, PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the Pakatan Rakyat coalition has not discussed Anwar’s status as opposition leader.
“We have yet to discuss his status, after this we may discuss it, I have not seen the decision from the Prisons Board so I need more details first,” he said. – April 1, 2015.