The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is dismayed over the ruling handed down today by Malaysia’s Federal Court to uphold a sodomy conviction against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
This is the second time that Anwar Ibrahim will serve a prison term on sodomy charges in a country where such charges are very uncommon.
The ruling, which entails a five-year prison sentence and loss of parliamentary mandate, effectively signals the end of Mr. Anwar’s political career. It will also deprive the country of a strong political opposition leader.
IPU, which had a trial observer attending the appeal hearing at the Federal Court, has been following the case through its Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. The Committee has repeatedly expressed concerns over trial procedures and the series of charges that have been brought against the Malaysian opposition leader since 1999. In 2010, it had concluded that the prosecution on this latest sodomy charge was compromised and that the case should have been discontinued.
The Organization believed the first sodomy case against Anwar had been politically motivated and welcomed the decision to overturn the conviction in 2004. It noted that this second charge was widely criticized as a bid to derail Anwar’s political career.
“This decision based on flawed judicial proceedings is not only a blow to Mr. Anwar personally, but also to Malaysia’s democracy,” says Ann Clwyd, MP and President of IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians.
The upholding of the conviction means that 67-year-old Anwar would not be able to stand for parliament until six years after the end of his prison term.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.
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