Malaysia

News in Brief: Anwar judgement and Kayong murder

Malaysian judges refuse to review Anwar case

Malaysia’s federal court has rejected an application by the jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to have his case reviewed.

The panel of five judges ruled that the court found no merits for review on the grounds raised by Anwar’s lawyers.

On February 10 last year, the federal court upheld a 2014 ruling by the Court of Appeal, which found Anwar, aged 69, guilty of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008, and sentenced the former deputy prime minister to five years in prison. In June 2012, the high court had found Anwar not guilty.

As he read excerpts from the 60-page ruling, the Chief Judge of Malaya, Justice Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, said today: “This is not a fit or proper case for this court to exercise its inherent jurisdiction to initiate a review.”

anwar-2016Anwar (pictured left) says the case against him was fabricated by his political enemies and the verdict has been strongly criticised both locally and internationally.

He said after today’s verdict: “This is not the end of the road … I have pleaded and reiterated my innocence, but the judiciary has ignored my pleas.”

Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Ismail, who is president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party, or PKR), called upon Anwar’s supporters to remain steadfast.

The opposition leader’s daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar, who is a PKR vice-president and the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai, said there were still avenues to pursue in the fight for her father’s release.

The deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, said the federal court’s decision was “a real tragedy” for justice in Malaysia.

“This was a politically motivated case from day one, involving trumped-up charges considered in court trials that were plagued by fundamental problems in procedure and evidence, for a so-called ‘crime’ inherited from the British colonial era that should have been revoked long ago.

“More than anything, this outcome shows that the Malaysian courts were no match for Prime Minister Najib Razak’s political vendetta against Anwar. With this final decision running roughshod over Anwar’s rights and sending him back to prison, Najib and the ruling UMNO party have just fired the starting gun on the expected 2018 election by permanently sidelining the political opposition’s most capable leader.”

 

Alleged mastermind of Kayong murder caught in China (updated)

The alleged mastermind of the killing of Malaysian land rights activist Bill Kayong in Sarawak has been charged with abetting in the activist’s murder.

Lee Chee Kiang, who is also known as Stephen Lee, is the managing director of a palm oil plantation company. He was detained in China after a manhunt involving Interpol and was brought to Miri by Malaysian police. He appeared in court in Miri today.

bill-kayongLee fled to Singapore and Australia after Kayong (pictured left) was gunned down in his pickup truck while stopped at traffic lights in Miri on June 21 this year.

Kayong, who was the Miri secretary of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People’s Justice Party, or PKR) and political secretary for the Miri Member of Parliament Dr Michael Teoh, was actively involved in fighting for native land rights in Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

Mohamad Fitri Pauzi has been charged with committing the murder.

Two other men, Lie Chang Loong and Lee’s personal assistant, Chin Wui Chung, have also been charged with abetting the murder. Police say they are still seeking another suspect in connection with Kayong’s killing.

 

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