Press Statement

Asean and other state leaders must raise Anwar’s status as prisoner of conscience

 19 November 2015

Lawyers for Liberty calls upon Asean leaders and other state leaders attending the 27th Asean Summit this week including Japan, China, India and the United States to raise Anwar Ibrahim’s status as prisoner of conscience with the Malaysian government.

As the Asean Summit begins today, Anwar has spent 282 days in Sungai Buloh Prison. His continued incarceration remains a huge stain on Malaysia’s reputation as a modern, moderate and democratic nation that is intolerant and oppressive towards its political adversaries.

Ever since Anwar was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister in 1998, he has been continuously persecuted from holding political office and from fulfilling his elected role as a Member of Parliament and leader of the opposition. Anwar was severely beaten by then Inspector-General of Police Rahim Noor while handcuffed and blindfolded and after a series of questionable trials and appeals, he ultimately spent six years in jail.

On 10 February 2015, the Federal Court sentenced Anwar to five years’ imprisonment for a sodomy charge, after a trial and appeal process that was widely condemned. Among the states, international parliamentarian, human rights and legal organisations that denounced the verdict were the following: US, EU, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland; International Federation for Human Rights; Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Inter-Parliamentary Union and International Commission of Jurists.

More recently and most damning, the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention released an opinion that found Anwar’s detention to be “arbitrary” and in contravention of international laws and called for his immediate release.

It further found that Anwar’s treatment in prison may have violated international prohibition against “torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” and referred his case to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for further investigations and appropriate action.

Released by:
Eric Paulsen
Executive Director
Lawyers for Liberty

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