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Anwar can be placed under house arrest instead, says his former lawyer

 | November 21, 2017

Prison rules can be amended to let Anwar finish the rest of his prison sentence under house arrest, to help him to recover from his shoulder surgery, say S N Nair.

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PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya can amend prison regulations to place opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim under house arrest instead of continuing to keep him in prison, his former lawyer said.

S N Nair said there was no provision for house arrest, unlike in Pakistan or the Philippines, but the Prisons Department could enact such rules to accommodate Anwar and enable him to recover from his shoulder surgery.

“Despite the court verdict, the government has wide discretion in wanting to ease the pain of continued incarceration on Anwar,” he told FMT.

Nair said Anwar could remain at home but with a number of conditions attached until he completed the sentence imposed by the court.

He said this in response to tweets by netizens calling for Anwar’s early release after Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor made a surprise visit to the Kuala Lumpur hospital on Friday evening.

Anwar had undergone surgery on his right shoulder last week following a severe injury due to an accident in 2014.

Earlier last week, Anwar’s international legal counsel Kimberley Motley had called on Purajaya to free him as he had served more than 1,000 days of his five-year sentence for sodomy.

On Feb 10, 2015, the Federal Court affirmed the five year jail term on Anwar for sexually assaulting his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

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

Nair was in Anwar’s legal team, during the first sodomy case from 1999 and the second sexual assault, until 2012.

The Federal Court in 2004 acquitted Anwar in the first case.

Nair said the other option for Anwar was to use the legal channel to set aside his sodomy conviction, as he was currently doing.

In April this year, Anwar filed a suit against the government, claiming that the court had convicted him of sexual misconduct based on the perjured evidence of Saiful, 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 can produce evidence if an incompetent court had made a judgment that was obtained by fraud or collusion.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court was scheduled to hear the case yesterday but it was changed to another date.

On Nov 8, the High Court struck out Anwar’s suit against the government over allegations that RM9.5 million was paid to senior lawyer Shafee Abdullah to prosecute him in the sodomy case.

Anwar filed the suit on grounds that he was denied a fair trial, but justice Azizah Nawawi, in allowing the government to annul the suit, ruled that the allegation was a bare denial.

Anwar has now filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal.


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