KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 – With Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II appeal just a day away, PKR demanded today for an end to the alleged persecution of its de facto chief, telling the authorities to allow rule of law to prevail when his case is called up tomorrow. In a statement here, party deputy president Azmin Ali pointed out that the authorities have already shown “bad faith” by trying to cripple Anwar’s defence team with the use of the sedition law.
“This interference,” he said, “… is an outright denial of a fair hearing for Datuk Seri Anwar.” “The relentless persecution of Datuk Seri Anwar has been on-going and is symptomatic of a judicial and criminal process that is deeply flawed.” On August 19, N. Surendran, a key lawyer in Anwar’s defence team, was charged under Section 4 (1)(C) of the Sedition Act for criticising the Court of Appeal’s ruling that overturned a lower court’s decision to discharge Anwar from his second sodomy charge.
Surendran was first charged with sedition on August 19, over a news release titled “Court of Appeal’s Fitnah 2 Written Judgement is Flawed, Defensive & Insupportable” that was issued to news portal Malaysiakini on April 18 this year. Opposition lawmakers have since cried foul over the charges against Surendran, accusing the authorities of using the sedition law to taint Anwar’s sodomy appeal scheduled for tomorrow.
The High Court had in 2012 acquitted Anwar of a 2008 sodomy charge — his second since 1998 — but the appellate court ruled on March 7 this year that the lower court’s trial judge had erred when rejecting the DNA evidence produced in the case. If Anwar fails to reverse his five-year imprisonment sentence and conviction in the Federal Court tomorrow, the Permatang Pauh MP would lose his seat as the law bars anyone fined RM2,000 or imprisoned for one year to be a lawmaker.
The former deputy prime minister has been going on his own campaign since last Tuesday to drum up support and is expected to cap it off with a solidarity gathering tonight. Azmin repeated today his party’s claim that the 2008 sodomy charge had been fabricated, and insisted that it was part and parcel of an extended campaign since 1998 to destroy Anwar’s political career,
The Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn Anwar’s acquittal was a “travesty of justice”, he said. “In this regard, I strongly urge the powers that be to let the rule of law and justice prevail. Stop the persecution of Datuk Seri Anwar and put an end to this perverse injustice once and for all,” Azmin said.