KUALA LUMPUR: After failing to have his 2015 sodomy conviction reviewed last year, Anwar Ibrahim has now filed a fresh suit in another attempt to be released from jail.
The former opposition leader said the finding of guilt must be set aside as the conviction was based on perjured evidence by his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar’s lawyer N Surendran said his client, who is scheduled to be released next year after serving three years out of the five-year sentence, must be freed immediately.
“We will be filing a certificate of urgency to hear this civil suit against the government which is named as defendant,” he told reporters at the Jalan Duta High Court complex here today, on the latest move to free Anwar of the conviction in the case which came to be known as Sodomy II.
In the statement of claim filed by legal firm Daim & Gamany, Anwar said the government (public prosecutor) knew and had knowledge that Saiful was an untruthful witness.
“Saiful gave perjured evidence, which to the knowledge of the defendant (government), was false. Yet the defendant relied on and perpetuated the perjury to its advantage,” he said.
The former opposition leader said the government fabricated false evidence in the form of an alleged DNA sample and used it to support the perjured evidence of Saiful.
Anwar said the government fraudulently, and with intention to injure him, put forward Saiful, the main prosecution witness.
He said Saiful’s evidence was perjured and the act of sodomy never took place or could not have happened by virtue of his (Saiful) own account.
Anwar said he would give further and better particulars in the course of the proceedings.
He added that due to the fraud, the judgment of the Court of Appeal and Federal Court was invalid and must be set aside as provided under Section 44 of the Evidence Act.
Last December, Anwar failed in his attempt to clear himself of his sodomy conviction after the Federal Court dismissed his review application.
A five-member panel led by the then Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin said there was no merit to review the application.
“This is not a fit and proper case for the court to use its inherent jurisdiction,” he had told a packed courtroom.
Anwar is currently serving his five-year jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh Prison for sexual misconduct on Saiful in 2008.
He was initially acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 9, 2012.
However, the Court of Appeal reversed the acquittal and sentenced him to five years’ jail on March 7, 2014.
On Feb 10, 2015 a five-man bench in the Federal Court, chaired by the then chief justice Arifin Zakaria, maintained the conviction, saying it found that Saiful was a credible witness.
The bench also concluded that there was no break in the chain of evidence, as claimed by Anwar’s lawyers.
He then filed his review application in June 2015.
Like in his first sodomy charge in 1994, from which he was acquitted in 2004, Anwar has claimed that the second was also fabricated by his political rivals.
However, the government and Umno leaders have denied this.
Anwar is scheduled to be freed from prison in August next year should he get the one-third remission on grounds of good behaviour.