Anwar jailed five years for sodomy


Anwar accuses judges of “bowing to their political masters.”

(Free Malaysia Today) – Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, leading a five-man bench, said the five year jail sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on a sodomy charge under Section 377B of the Penal Code will not be enhanced.

Anwar was found guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The Judges then left the courtroom.

Based on the facts of the case, Justice Arifin held that Dr Mohd Osman Abdul Hamid from Pusrawi Hospital was not telling the truth when he claimed in his medical report that plastic objects were inserted into Saiful’s anus. The judge said the Kuala Lumpur general hospital doctors did not draw similar conclusions.

Anwar, at his request, was allowed to address the Court. He reiterated the case was a political conspiracy against him and vowed to “never surrender” and pledged to continue fighting for justice and freedom. He said that he was innocent and referred to the fact that the Prime Minister’s Office had issued a statement before he was sentenced.

Justice Arifin told him to stop when he said: “You could have chosen to carve your names but you chose the dark side”. He accused them of “bowing to their political masters.”

The Judges left the bench when they failed to get Anwar to stop his remarks.

Anwar’s lead counsel Gopal Sri Ram addressed the court on sentencing, and pointed out that his Client was no ordinary person and none can escape his personality. The Opposition Leader, stressed Gopal, had contributed significantly to the government and the country and asked the Court to consider these facts. He pleaded against enhancing the earlier sentence of five years meted out by the Court of Appeal.

The prosecution, led Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, stressed that 20 years jail was the maximum but whipping was not relevant. Five years, argued Shafee, would be “manifestly inadequate”. He called for a sentence above six years, the penalty for the first offence, and pointed out that this was the second time that the Opposition Leader had been charged with the same offence. He agreed with Gopal that Anwar had contributed to the nation but argued that “he has not shown remorse”. “The higher the position, the higher the crime,” he said.

Justice Arifin, in earlier reading of the judgment, said consent was not an ingredient of the offence and recalled how Saiful worked as a volunteer and served as Anwar’s assistant.

Justice Arifin pointed out that Anwar gave his statement from the dock where he alleged a conspiracy by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and questioned Saiful’s conduct. “We hold there is no merit in the complaint of political conspiracy. A mere denial (from Anwar) does not mean it could be accepted. A political conspiracy allegation remains unsubstantiated,” he said.

The top judge clarified that the Evidence Act does not require corroboration. (The High Court had ruled that the chemists’ evidence did not corroborate with Saiful’s testimony). The evidence of the complainant, he said, can be relied upon without corroboration.