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Lawyer: Anwar still relies on courts to quash sodomy conviction

 | September 14, 2017

He will use the legal process to show the charge is politically motivated, says Latheefa Koya.

Latheefa-Koya-Anwar-Ibrahim-gavel-court-1PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim is still using the legal channels to set aside his sodomy conviction despite the likelihood that he would be freed from prison in 10 months, his lawyer Latheefa Koya said.

“He is a political prisoner and has filed at least two suits to show his conviction was illegally obtained,” she said.

Latheefa said filing a fresh clemency petition to the king did not arise because the Federal Court would have to decide if the pardon board’s decision-making process could be subjected to judicial scrutiny.

Latheefa said this in response to Isaiah D Jacob,a disabled man, who plans to fast for 51 days straight while going on a nationwide tour to promote his “Free Anwar” initiative.

The PKR member said he would be launching his campaign on Sept 29 at Permatang Pauh, Penang, which is Anwar’s hometown and former parliamentary stronghold.

Isaiah said his initiative was also part of a petition drive to get the former opposition leader released from jail as he believed in Anwar’s “innocence”.

Latheefa said Anwar had in April this year filed a suit against the government, claiming that the court had convicted him of sexual misconduct based on the perjured evidence of Saiful Bukhari, the crown prosecution witness.

He said fabricated evidence in the form of an alleged DNA sample was used to support the evidence of Saiful.

Anwar will rely on Section 44 of the Evidence Act to revoke the conviction and jail sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal and later affirmed by the apex court.

That provision states that any party to a suit or proceeding can produce evidence if an incompetent court had made a ruling or a judgment was obtained by fraud or collusion.

On June 9, Anwar filed another suit to quash his conviction, this time on grounds that the court did not come to a just decision as lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, then appointed as ad hoc prosecutor, had allegedly received RM9.5 million from Najib Razak.

Online portal Sarawak Report reported that Shafee had received the money in two tranches in 2013 and 2014 from the prime minister.

Latheefa said in both suits, Anwar wants the court to set him free by setting aside the conviction.

In March 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned Anwar’s acquittal for the crime he committed on Saiful in 2008.

The decision was reaffirmed by the Federal Court on Feb 10, 2015, which sentenced Anwar to five years’ jail.

A five-man apex bench chaired by then-chief justice Arifin Zakaria, maintained the conviction, saying it found that Saiful was a credible witness.

With one-third remission, Anwar, 70, should be out of prison in June next year.

Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and their daughters, Nurul Izzah and Nurul Nuha, filed a petition for pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on behalf of the opposition chief on Feb 25, 2015.

The following month, the board dismissed their petition and this forced Anwar and family members to file a judicial review.

Early this year, they won the right to appear before the Federal Court to determine whether the board’s decision-making process could be subjected to judicial scrutiny.

Meanwhile, lawyer SN Nair said there was an automatic one-third remission and he hoped the Prison Department’s director-general would exercise his discretion to grant Anwar an early release

Nair, who is a former counsel for Anwar, said although the PKR de facto leader had a previous conviction for abuse of power, he ought to be given the concession as the present sentence was for a different offence.

“The director-general should also take into account that Anwar is unwell and an early release is appropriate,” he said.


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