On the one year anniversary of Anwar Ibrahim’s imprisonment
9 February 2016
Tomorrow, 10 February 2016 is the one year anniversary of Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charge conviction at the Federal Court, after a trial and appeal process that were widely condemned, sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment.
Anwar’s incarceration at Sungai Buloh prison remains a huge stain on Malaysia’s international reputation. Every additional day Anwar is kept behind bars, is a grim reminder on how far Malaysia has fallen, how undemocratic and oppressive the government has become towards its political adversaries.
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.
In November 2015 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.
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.
We also note with extreme concern Anwar’s continuing health issues, in particular, the chronic rotator cuff injury on his right shoulder and his limited access to proper and specialised medical treatment.
In line with Anwar’s status as “prisoner of conscience” and international concerns that have been raised, we call upon the authorities to release him on house arrest so that he can spend the rest of his sentence in a minimum security correctional facility and for him to receive the medical treatment that is not available in prison.
Lawyers for Liberty
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