Acquittal from sodomy only option to set Anwar free


Review of Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction will be heard on Oct 12 but lawyer says rarely, if ever, would Federal Court bench reverse a criminal judgment.

(FMT) – Former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s only way out of prison is to be cleared of the sodomy charge before a new Federal Court bench, a criminal lawyer said.

N Sivananthan, however, said Anwar’s lawyers had to first convince the apex court that the sodomy conviction last year was a grave miscarriage of justice.

“His lawyers have to show that the decision was tainted with illegality, bias or prejudice,” said Sivananthan, who is also a defence counsel at the International Criminal Court.

He said the court would only set aside the earlier judgment if the strict threshold for review under Rule 137 of the Rules of Federal Court 1995 was satisfied.

He said the court would then proceed to rehear the appeal and only at this stage could Anwar’s lawyers argue the merit of the case based on facts and the law.

Anwar filed the review last year and the apex court will hear the matter on Oct 12.

“He can only be freed if the new bench allows his appeal and quashes the conviction of the Court of Appeal,” he added.

However, the lawyer said he could not recall of the bench reversing the judgment of another bench in a criminal case.

“It is going to be an uphill task but nothing is impossible,” he added.

Sivananthan said this in response to a statement by human rights lawyer Kimberley Motley, who claimed that Anwar had not committed the crime.

Motley, who claimed to be appointed to appear for Anwar on a pro bono basis, said she also intended to talk globally about the way Anwar had been treated within the Malaysian legal system.

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