The IPU welcomes the news of the release and full pardon of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. Mr. Anwar was released from prison today after being granted a full royal pardon. The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which has been defending Mr. Anwar’s case since the 1990s, has consistently maintained that Mr. Anwar was the victim of an unfair trial and has lobbied intensively over the years for his release.
Mr. Anwar was first arrested in September 1998 on charges of abuse of power and sodomy. He was found guilty on both counts and sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison. A new charge of sodomy was brought against Mr. Anwar in 2008. He was acquitted in January 2012 because of a lack of corroborating evidence, but in 2014 the Court of Appeal convicted him and sentenced him to five years in prison.
The Committee sent an observer, Mark Trowell QC, to Mr. Anwar’s hearings in 2012, 2013 and the Federal Court hearing in February 2015, which upheld the Court of Appeal’s conviction. Mr. Trowell raised serious concerns about the trial proceedings. The Committee concluded that the motives for his prosecution were not legal in nature and that the case had been built on a presumption of guilt.
When Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was elected Prime Minister earlier this month, he sought a pardon for Mr. Anwar and said he would hand over power to Mr. Anwar within two years.
The IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians works to defend MPs who suffer abuse and harassment. The IPU considers that the strength of a democracy lies in allowing its elected officials to carry out their functions freely, without harassment or intimidation. The Committee seeks to protect and defend MPs around the world who face abuse, mistreatment or even death. The only international mechanism with such a remit, it has a solid track record of providing concrete help to those who suffer abuse. The Committee is examining the cases of over 426 other MPs from 37 countries.