PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyers have submitted a formal notice to the Government for his immediate release.
“On March 3, 2017, we had formally written to the Home Minister and the Commissioner General of Prisons, asking for the release from prison of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim,” N. Surendran and Latheefa Koya said in a statement on Saturday.
Anwar has served more than two years in prison for sodomy.
“We have asked for this under the provisions of section 43 of the Prisons Act 1995, which allows the Commissioner General to release upon licence any person serving a sentence of imprisonment,” the statement said.
In their application, the lawyers laid out the “overwhelming reasons” why the former Opposition leader must be released immediately, including how the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention had declared Anwar’s detention illegal and called for his release in Sept 2015.
“Therefore his continued imprisonment damages the image and reputation of our country in the eyes of the international community.
“Malaysia is a member state of the UN, and cannot afford to ignore the categorical finding of a UN body,” the statement said.
The statement also cited Anwar’s standing and worldwide reputation as a progressive Muslim leader.
“As the acknowledged leader of the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, his release is crucial to ensure a proper and healthy democratic process in our country.
“We therefore urge the Home Minister and Commissioner General to act expeditiously and order Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s release without any further delay,” it added.
In March 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned Anwar’s acquittal by the High Court and sentenced him to five years in jail for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari, 30, at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.
This was upheld by the Federal Court on Feb 10 last year.