6 March 2014
LFL is extremely concerned with the unholy haste in which our judiciary had fast tracked the Public Prosecutor’s appeal against Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case – a trumped up and politically motivated charge that had been universally condemned.
The sudden increase in judicial efficiency and swiftness to dispose off all matters relating to Anwar’s appeal the week before 11 March, nomination day for the Kajang by-election, certainly is unprecedented and raises serious questions on its independence and fairness.
The series of speedy events are as follows:
– the case management for the Public Prosecutor’s appeal against Anwar was heard on 28 February where the court set a very short date on 6 and 7 March for full hearing of the appeal despite the defence lawyers’ protestation that they were not available;
– these appeal dates were fixed despite the fact that 3 March had been fixed for hearing of Anwar’s third application to disqualify prominent Umno lawyer Shafee Abdullah from leading the prosecution team;
– and 4 March had also been fixed to hear Anwar’s application/appeal at the Federal Court to recall Investigating Officer Jude Pereira as a witness.
This peculiar and hasty pattern continued when Anwar’s defence filed an application to stay the proceeding on the morning of 5 March which was promptly heard and dismissed on the same day – again, highly unusual.
It is highly inconceivable that there were so few cases that were scheduled to be heard in this first week of March that all of Anwar’s applications could be prioritised like they were meant to be disposed off so that the Public Prosecutor’s appeal could be heard at all cost on the dates fixed.
These series of unsavoury judicial manoeuvring once again lend credence to the widely held public perception that when it comes to politically motivated cases, especially those concerning Anwar, the criminal justice system is not impartial, free and independent.
LFL therefore calls upon the judiciary, the Public Prosecutor and the police to act fairly and independently when discharging their duties and responsibility – and not to seemingly conspire and work together to ensure that Anwar continuously faces trumped up charges in court or is convicted.
Lawyers for Liberty
6 March 2014
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