Appeal Letter from HUMAN Rights Foundation (HRF) to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to release jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim:
June 20, 2017
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Muhammad V of Kelantan
50480 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Via Fax: +6 03 6205 2121
We strongly urge you to immediately release Anwar Ibrahim, who was wrongfully convicted on politically motivated charges and is currently serving a five-year prison sentence at Sungai Buloh Prison.
Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of “sodomy” in 2014 and sentenced to five years in prison. In 2015, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that there was “a violation of Mr. Ibrahim’s right to a fair trial, particularly the right to a fair hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal under article 10 of the [Universal Declaration of Human Rights].” As a prominent opposition figure, Mr. Ibrahim was conveniently put in prison prior to an election that could have put him in charge of one of the richest states in Malaysia. The trumped-up accusation of “sodomy” was a political tool in which Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration used to silence Mr. Ibrahim. Mr. Ibrahim’s conviction has been widely criticized by international human rights organizations and foreign governments, as there was a lack of DNA evidence, inconsistency in the testimony of Anwar’s accuser, and evidence tampering by a senior police officer in the case.
On May 31, 2017, Sarawak Report, an independent news source published that Shafee Abdullah, a supposedly independent barrister who was brought on by Mr. Razak’s administration as lead prosecutor in the state’s appeal of Mr. Ibrahim’s initial acquittal, received payments totaling RM 9.5 million from Mr. Razak as personal compensation just fourteen days before the overturn of Mr. Ibrahim’s acquittal by the High Court. These payments raise the question of Mr. Abdullah’s independence, since in 2014, Mr. Razak’s administration had informed the public that Mr. Abdullahreceived a mere RM 1,000 token payment for leading the prosecution. Mr. Abdullah has not denied receiving these payments, and has not yet provided any explanation for them so far.
These seriously questionable payments to Mr. Abdullah from Mr. Razak, compounded with the fundamental lack of evidence in support of Mr. Ibrahim’s conviction, show that Mr. Ibrahim’s political opposition aimed to strip him of his political standing and damage his reputation permanently. Anwar Ibrahim’s criminal prosecution, from the beginning to the end, was riddled with bias, political influence, and miscarriage of justice.
We respectfully urge Your Majesty to recognize the undeniable political meddling in Mr. Ibrahim’s case, order him to be released from prison, and clear him of his conviction. As a member state to the United Nations, Malaysia has the responsibility to protect the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As head of state, Your Majesty must remedy this outrageous violation of rights and allow Mr. Ibrahim to reunite with his family and enjoy his personal and political freedom.
Thor Halvorssen Garry Kasparov
President & CEO Chairman
cc: Embassy of Malaysia to the United States
Malaysia Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Laurent Meillan, Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office for South-East Asia
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Nils Melzer, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment