Mahathir, lawyer push Putrajaya for Anwar’s immediate release

Kimberley-Motley-mahathir-mohamad-anwar-ibrahim-court-1PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad and US human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley today urged Putrajaya to look into the immediate release of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

“We had a fruitful meeting yesterday morning regarding Anwar’s current situation. We jointly agree that Anwar should be unconditionally released from prison immediately. He is currently in the hospital undergoing long-term medical treatment.

“Anwar is a political prisoner and has endured more than 34 months in prison. He is scheduled for release in June 2018 and his current medical state is of concern to his family, friends, and people around the world,” Mahathir and Motley, who is Anwar’s international legal adviser, said in a joint statement.

Motley has been representing Anwar since Sept 7 on a pro bono basis.

The statement said Anwar, who was described as a 70-year-old prisoner of conscience, required significant medical care which had been hampered due to his incarceration.

“We urge the government to consider our request seriously and for the sake of justice and the international relations of Malaysia,” the statement said.

In an earlier press conference, Motley had said she would meet with the country’s leaders to push for Anwar’s immediate release.

She also said she would seek Mahathir’s support on the matter.

Yesterday, she criticised Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi after she was denied access to Anwar.

“It is fundamental that a person is entitled to have access to legal advisers of his choice while in prison,” she had said.

“The rejection of my request to meet Anwar is in breach of international standards of access to justice and paints Malaysia in a bad light.”

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed, however, slammed Motley for questioning the country’s prison regulations.

“She is rude and arrogant,” Nur Jazlan had told FMT.

“What locus standi does she have to criticise Malaysian laws and prison rules?”

Anwar, 70, is currently serving a five-year jail sentence after a conviction for sodomy.