Press Statement
7 March 2014
LFL is extremely shocked and appalled at the Court of Appeal’s ludicrous sodomy conviction and five years’ jail sentence against Anwar Ibrahim in what was clearly a trumped up and politically motivated charge that has been universally condemned. Anwar’s conviction merely reaffirms the return of iron fist authoritarian rule and PM Najib Razak’s false reformist credentials.
The lightning speed in which the Public Prosecutor’s appeal against Anwar’s acquittal was brought forward and fully heard, having him convicted and sentenced in two days in order to disqualify him from running in the Kajang by-election, demonstrated clearly that in politically important cases, the judiciary is not impartial, independent and free from political manipulation and control.
The Court of Appeal panel, Balia Yusof, Aziah Ali and Mohd. Zawawi Salleh surely must be remembered as being responsible for one of the worst miscarriages of justice in recent memory. Their names will live in infamy together with other infamous judges like Augustine Paul and Arifin Jaka who similarly perverted the law in order to convict Anwar on false charges.
LFL is further shocked that the court allowed prominent UMNO lawyer Shafee Abdullah to lead the prosecution against Anwar despite his manifest unsuitability and conflict of interest. Shafee’s appointment smacks of desperation and sets another bad precedent, sending the wrong message that the authorities will go to extraordinary lengths to secure the conviction of UMNO’s political adversaries. This move proved to be scandalous as Shafee continuously misled the court on the law and facts and at every available opportunity, made outrageous personal attacks against Anwar especially during sentencing.
We are shocked at the deep disarray of our criminal justice system and cannot believe that any reform is possible under the present government.
Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty
7 March 2014
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