Anwar’s lawyers say WikiLeaks sex expose is ‘subjudice’

(The Malaysian Insider) – A leaked US diplomatic cable is not only rocking Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s political future but also his Sodomy II trial, prompting his lawyers to say it is subjudice and warn against its publication.

Defence counsel Sankara Nair revealed that he and another Anwar lawyer, Karpal Singh, have had preliminary discussions over the whistleblower WikiLeaks expose about intelligence agents who believe the opposition leader was “set up” but that he “walked” into a trap.

“I have consulted my colleague Karpal Singh with regards to this matter. For one thing, we feel that it is actually subjudice to carry these stories as it could affect the integrity of the trial. If you look at it properly, the story was published via a third party. In law, this is hearsay until it is factually proven otherwise,” the lawyer told The Malaysian Insider.

Sankara said they needed to consult Anwar first before making any decision, adding that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader could not be reached at all for the moment.

Anwar has dismissed a revelation by WikiLeaks that Australian intelligence believes he engaged in sodomy, claiming the source was Malaysia’s Special Branch police.

The opposition leader did not take calls to comment on Australia’s The Sun-Herald report but responded via his Twitter micro-blogging account when queried.

“Source? Polis SB Msia. Bukti tak ada (Who is the source? Malaysian police Special Branch. There is no proof whatsoever),” Anwar replied.

In an earlier reply, the former deputy prime minister wrote: “Source? Msian SB ha ha.”

Sankara claimed that Anwar’s remarks were not far off the mark, saying that intelligence reports should not be used as a basis for news or information, and that the facts in these reports could often be misleading or entirely wrong.

“I was part of the Branch before, I know what it is like. The last thing you do is trust an intelligence report, you cannot simply make allegations, to do so is absolute conjecture and hearsay. A person is innocent until proven guilty,” said Sankara.

The lawyer told The Malaysian Insider that Sodomy II trial judge Datuk Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah had the power to summon the local news organisations which had reported the expose, and issue them a show-cause letter.

“The judge can call up the newspapers and ask them to explain why they wrote the piece, and where is their proof. The situation here is similar to that of the case with Utusan earlier this year,” said Sankara.

He was referring a photo caption published by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia earlier this year which, according to Anwar’s lawyers, alluded to the PKR leader being guilty of the charges against him. Back then, the lawyers had objected in court to the Utusan piece.

“The thing we want to avoid is unsubstantiated matters against my client during the course of his trial. It is prejudicing the issue,” said Sankara.

PR lawmakers have demanded Singapore respond to the WikiLeaks’ revelation that regional intelligence agencies believe Anwar had committed sodomy, claiming that it was a “high-level conspiracy” implicating both the Malaysian and the island republic’s Special Branch police.

They also want an explanation on leaked US State Department cables which reported Singaporean senior government officials as saying that Malaysia’s “decline” was due to “incompetent politicians.”

“With WikiLeaks’ revelation, it looks like Singapore is undermining its relationship with Malaysia. Whether or not the leaks are entirely accurate, what remains clear is that Singapore’s relationship with Malaysia remains dubious, to say the least.

“PKR will be sending an official letter to the Singapore High Commissioner tomorrow, demanding an explanation on both issues. The Anwar expose as well as Singapore leader’s remarks on Malaysia,” said PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang.

He also said that PR MPs were currently considering raising an emergency motion in Parliament this week on the matter as it affected “national interests.”

The WikiLeaks website has promised to release some 250,000 diplomatic cables from the United States that reveal explosive private views across the world. Nearly 1,000 are said to be related to Malaysia, including candid observations about Putrajaya’s refusal to co-operate on several fronts.