Anwar’s family wants re-test of DNA evidence

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim is expected to be freed in early June after serving his sentence for sexual misconduct.

BUTTERWORTH: The family of PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim is urging the home ministry to carry out a retest of the DNA samples taken from him during the sodomy proceedings in 2014.

Yusmadi Yusoff, who heads the Free Anwar movement, claimed that the DNA samples had been obtained by trickery, with a toothbrush, mineral water bottle and a “good morning” towel given to him.

The lawyer said he had brought 22 volumes of the Record of Appeals to be further examined by Queen’s Counsel David Bentley, a criminal defence specialist.

Bentley’s practice deals in a wide range of serious and complex crimes, including murder, terrorism, fraud, business crime and sexual offences.

Yusmadi said Bentley had drawn several conclusions when asked to examine the safety of the conviction in the light of the DNA evidence presented at the trial, particularly by Seah Lay Hong and Nor Aidora Saedon, the two chemists called by the prosecution to testify.

“Bentley had concluded that the integrity of the DNA samples relied upon to establish the profile of ‘male Y’ was without confidence; that there was contamination or degradation of DNA samples; and that there was non-adherence of protocols and insufficient robust laboratory procedures.

“Following such a review, some new and compelling arguments can be put forward — calling into question the reliability and/or integrity of the DNA evidence and its subsequent interpretation used to support the conviction of Anwar.

“The home ministry, with the powers that they have, should order a re-test of the DNA evidence against the wrongful conviction of Anwar,” he said at a press conference here today.

Present were Anwar’s son Mohd Ehsan, as well as other state PKR leaders.

Yusmadi said the DNA sample was never made available to be assessed by Anwar’s defence team.

He said there were clear shortcomings in the DNA evidence presented at Anwar’s trial, and it would be in the interest of justice for the evidence to be re-examined.

Anwar is currently serving his five-year jail sentence at the Sungai Buloh Prison for sexual misconduct on his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008. He is expected to be released in early June.

Anwar 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 of the Federal Court, chaired by then chief justice Arifin Zakaria, maintained the conviction, saying it found Saiful to be a credible witness.

The bench also concluded that there was no break in the chain of evidence, as claimed by Anwar’s lawyers.