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Scorpene lawyers prepared to come but…

 | October 8, 2012

The two French lawyers, representing Suaram, are willing to come to Malaysia but the question is, will they be given visas by the local authorities.

IPOH: The two French lawyers acting for human rights NGO Suaram in the Scorpene submarines corruption trial are expected to arrive in Malaysia by the end of October provided that they can get visas from the Malaysian authorities.

Lawyers William Bourdon and Joseph Breham have accepted the invitation of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim to brief the Malaysian parliament on the latest status of the infamous Scorpones trial.

“They are expected to arrive (in Malaysia) by the end of this month,” Anwar told FMT after attending the general election PKR campaign function held yesterday near Gopeng.

Earlier, Anwar had told the large number of PKR supporters that he had just returned from Paris after attending a seminar meeting there and he had also met the two lawyers.

Contacted later, PKR vice-president Tian Chua said: “They have to first apply for their Malaysian visas (before entering the country) and we hope that the federal government will cooperate and approve their visas.”

He also said that a similar invitation to lawyer Olivier Metzner representing the French naval firm DCNS has been sent out but he has yet to respond to the request.

It was reported in a news portal that in an invitation letter dated Oct 2, 2012, Anwar had written to the two lawyers for their presence to update the country’s lawmakers and Malaysians on the latest findings on the Scorpenes trial which is of great national importance.

However, it was reported that the two French lawyers want an assurance form Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s government that they will not be deported or be subjected to physical harassment and intimidation.

This condition comes after the government in 2011 deported Bourdon when he flew to Malaysia to brief his client Suaram.

Earlier this year, the NGO’s legal team was forced to meet their client in Bangkok amid concerns of similar harassment by the Malaysian authorities.

Najib and Umno have been accused of obtaining illegal kickbacks in the federal government’s RM7.3 billion acquisition of two Scorpene submarines from DCNS.

As the then defence minister, Najib had sealed the deal in 2002 and the submarines were delivered to Malaysian waters in 2010.

Although Najib had denied the allegation, Suaram had gone to Paris to file a corruption complaint in 2010.

For taking the controversial issue to court, Suaram is allegedly facing harassment from the BN government over its administration of funding.


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