Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction: A travesty of justice – Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
MARCH 10, 2014
I refer to “Judicial process and timing in Anwar’s case implies persecution not prosecution, says Bar Council”, The Malaysian Insider, March 9 concerning the latest conviction of the Malaysian opposition leader.
I overwhelmingly concur with the charge of the Malaysian Bar Council that “the charge against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the manner in which his appeal was handled fuels the perception that the opposition leader was persecuted and not prosecuted”.
It is undeniable that because of the grave fear and extreme paranoia of the powers that be to the natural and charismatic power and genuine popularity of Anwar to the Malaysian public, they have used all the resources and arsenal of the government even to the point of compromising the integrity and independence of the courts.
Why? For the simple reason that they do not want Anwar to win in Kajang and subsequently be the Selangor menteri besar.
I am wondering, is it all worth it? Yes, they successfully blocked Anwar from contesting in the coming by-election. In fact, he is in danger once again of going back to prison, yet do they know the repercussions and consequences of what they did?
It is my ardent view and so held that even if PKR will put a dog or a rooster or a cat as its candidate for Kajang, that animal will win not only handsomely but with a landslide.
The deputy director of Asia division of Human Rights, Phil Robertson, said that Anwar’s trial “was all about knocking him out of politics and the government was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen”.
In other words, they are delirious and desperate to stop Anwar at all cost!
The nefarious act of the powers that be, their continuing persecution of Anwar and his family that begun 15 years ago and all the evil methods that they’ve utilised just to silence the Opposition Leader, will return like a tsunami and will explode in their very faces one fine day!
They will be hurt tremendously by their foolishness! The people are angry and their collective wrath in time will erupt! Watch out!
I am equally in agreement with the contention of the Bar president, Christopher Leong specifically, when he said “that in the first place, the archaic provision under the Penal Code which criminalises sodomy and oral sex should never have been brought against Anwar”.
Leong unequivocally asserted that:
"The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds, and has muddied the waters of our justice system.
"We also have grave misgivings with respect to the manner and timing in which the appeal was handled, especially over the way in which mitigation and sentencing proceeded… "
On Friday, the Court of Appeals overturned the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s January 9, 2012 decision acquitting Anwar and declared him guilty of sodomy.
The decision of the court in my view is not only a travesty of justice but an extreme mockery of the whole administration of justice. This leads the wife of the Opposition Leader, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to lament that:
“The proceedings had been conducted in the Palace of Justice, but inside there was only injustice.”
Judgment of Acquittal that is reviewable
Another thing that confused me since then, up to now is the stupid and idiotic principle of the Malaysian “legal” concept of reviewing the judgment of acquittal!
In many jurisdictions, once a person is acquitted he or she is immediately discharged and he or she will no longer be prosecuted (again) on the same charge, because it will violate the legal doctrine of Double Jeopardy which is a universally sanctioned and recognised legal principle.
Right or wrong, a judgment of acquittal is unappealable, irreversible and final, but in Malaysia, even if you are already acquitted, a higher court can still reverse the judgment of your acquittal. I believe that this principle or policy or practice is not only unfavourable to the accused but also mocks the very definition of due process.
So, in Malaysia for example, if an individual is acquitted, he or she cannot celebrate his or her vindication, because he or she must wait whether or not the prosecutor (which in truth and in fact must be called as the persecutor) will decide to appeal his or her judgment of acquittal!
This is preposterously unjust, hilarious to the maximum and stupid to the core, to say the least! Undeniably, this is the heights of absurdity and grave injustice! Shame!
Consider the following facts as reported by the Malaysian Insider:
“Court of Appeal registry had informed Anwar's lawyers to reserve April 7 to 10 as the proposed hearing dates, to which the team agreed.
“However, these dates were abandoned and replaced with earlier dates.”
I am wondering why the court is acting like it is following a script or a schedule! Why the rush and the haste?
Leong further added that:
"If this is true, it raises the question as to why the Court of Appeal brought forward the appeal to be heard when the April dates had been agreed on.
"After all the defendant was facing a possible 20-year jail term and the April dates would have given the legal team more time to prepare… "
The worst part of this fiasco in my view is the fact that the court had only taken approximately 90 minutes to consider before giving a unanimous decision in reversing the acquittal by the High Court and then when Anwar’s lead counsel, Karpal Singh and the defence team sought an adjournment until next week to allow them to prepare for mitigation the court refused it flatly and one justice even ordered Karpal to submit the mitigation in one hour’s time.
Of course, this farce led Anwar to react angrily. He stood up and shouted, "Do it now!"
Indeed, as Leong quipped: "these matters raise many questions, cause much speculation, and lend to the perception that justice may have been hijacked… ”
Imagine the scenario the Opposition Leader’s acquittal two years ago was overturned, while his lead counsel, Karpal was also convicted of sedition a month ago.
Wow! I am wondering what kind of judicial system now is being practice in Malaysia and what kind of administration of justice are they following?
Anwar is convicted, Karpal is convicted; I am inclined to ask? It is Tian Chua’s turn to be convicted? Hullabaloo, it seems to be that the powers that be are convicting all the opposition leaders!
These convictions and outrageous trials clearly shows that the establishment is compose of power-hungry despots and they will not stop from wiping out the true people’s representatives!
Yes, these men are convicted; it is because they are men of conviction and principle.
This is a shame, a farce and grim day for all Malaysians!
Local and International condemnation of Anwar’s “conviction”
As already noted, the people of Malaysia are angry with the decision which they viewed as a miscarriage of justice.
Besides the Malaysian Bar, Lawyer’s for Liberty, Bersih and other non-government organisations have also come out to question and criticize the said decision.
The international community’s reaction is more stringent and categorical to the core, to say the least.
The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) condemned Anwar’s conviction as a mockery of justice and they even directly “casts doubts on the independence and impartiality of the Malaysian judiciary and tarnishes the reputation of the country’s legal system”.
Even the United States voiced its concern through State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki when she stated that:
"The decision to prosecute Mr Anwar, and his trial, have raised a number of concerns regarding the rule of law and the independence of the court…
"In this high-profile case, it is critical for Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia's democracy and judiciary."
Warning to the powers that be and a call to the people
We all know and so as the whole knows that this is an extreme travesty of justice! If the establishment thought and that colluding stupid “court” thinks that by jailing the opposition leader they will silence him; they are dead wrong! Anwar is used to being in jail!
This latest judicial perversity and political prostitution of the powers that be will only empower further the rakyat not only to resist, but inevitably to revolt!
It is beyond the shadow of doubt that this is exactly the time for them, the people themselves to act and to rise.
They must show in a collective sense that the true power of the government lies on their hands. They must now launch and unleash the Malaysian people power in its full force!
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!! – March 10, 2014.
* Jose Mario Dolor De Vega is a philosophy lecturer at the College of Arts and Letters, Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.