KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 – The Federal Court’s decision to uphold the guilty verdict in opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case drew ire from Australian lawmakers. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was disappointed by the decision to dismiss Anwar’s final appeal, reported ABC News.
“We are deeply concerned by the severity of the sentence and we have made our concerns known to the Malaysian government.” “As a friend of Malaysia, Australia encourages the Malaysian government to consider the impact of recent decisions, including the Anwar verdict and the retention of the Sedition Act, on its international standing and its commitment to human rights,” she said in a statement to the news site.
Meanwhile, South Australian Independent senator Nick Xenophon was quoted as saying that the decision was “a travesty of justice”. “International human rights groups, international groups of jurists, the International Parliamentary Union, have all said that these charges are trumped up, they’re flawed, they’re politically motivated,” Xenophon told ABC News.
“It is truly a travesty of justice.” Xenophon told Australian media that he would speak with Commonwealth representatives about Anwar’s case. “Australia as a close friend of Malaysia needs to be outspoken in terms of what’s occurred,” he told ABC News. The Malaysian apex court today found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at a condominium unit at Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, on June 26, 2008.
In the summary of his judgment, Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria found that claims of political conspiracy by the defence team remained an unsubstantiated allegation. He also agreed with the High Court and Court of Appeal that Saiful was a credible witness.