Thursday, 19 November 2015

[is anwar a political prisoner?!] ... UN agency with no 'brain'

[is anwar a political prisoner?!] ... UN agency with no 'brain'

The government has informed the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) that its call for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's immediate release from prison is baseless.

Malaysia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations told the UN body that Anwar's sodomy conviction was not political and he was accorded the same treatment as other prisoners, said Wisma Putra.

"After a fair and lengthy trial of six and half years, he was convicted for the offense. He is currently serving his sentence at prison, not in solitary confinement and is being provided with appropriate facilities and medical treatment.

"As such, the opinion by the WGAD, calling for the immediate release of DSAI is without basis," said the Foreign Ministry, referring to Anwar by his initials.

The UN group had reportedly called Anwar's detention arbitrary and illegal, and that his treatment in prison violated international prohibitions against “torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment". Comprising experts from Australia, Benin, Mexico, South Korea, and Ukraine, it said the remedy would be to free Anwar immediately.

The call by UNWGAD, a body under the UN Human Rights Council, was announced by PKR lawmakers on November 2.

Wisma Putra said Putrajaya had told UNWGAD on Monday that it abided by the Prison Act 1995 and the Prison Regulations 2000, as well as recommendations by the panel of consultants appointed to treat him.
"The government clarified that the Prison Act 1995 makes specific provision concerning the management of any serious illness of a prisoner, DSAI, like any other prisoner in Malaysia, cannot be removed or transferred to any place within or outside Malaysia other than a 'government hospital' in Malaysia for the purpose of medical treatment, if any."
Anwar was provided with additional facilities such as an appropriate hospital bed, a suitable chair and table, hot and cold shower facilities, a wall fan, a sitting toilet, and special dietary and food supplements. Unlike other prisoners, who must share cells, Anwar was given the privilege to occupy a specially renovated cell in the prison’s hospital complex, it added.

UNWGAD was also told the former Permatang Pauh MP continued to enjoy all his rights such as visitation rights and access to his lawyers, said Wisma Putra.

The government further clarified to UNWGAD that the panel of doctors said there was no evidence Anwar was suffering from any acute or life threatening medical condition.
"The government also maintains that the chronic back pain and spinal injury suffered by DSAI is not life threatening medical conditions which warrant treatment overseas, undoubtedly can be treated by local medical experts," said Wisma Putra.
Putrajaya also refuted allegations that the judiciary was neither independent nor impartial throughout Anwar's trial, said the ministry.

UNWGAD was told Anwar was always guaranteed the right to fair trial and allowed to exercise his constitutional rights before the courts, said the ministry.

Anwar was well represented by "eminent legal counsels including the late Karpal Singh and Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram", it added.

"The government made it clear to the WGAD that any allegation that DSAI was specifically targeted by the Malaysian authorities is baseless and unfounded as the prosecution case against DSAI was solely based on a police report lodged by the victim, Mohd Saiful Bukhari bin Azlan, available statements and DNA evidence.

"DSAI was charged for an offence punishable under section 377B of the Penal Code in that he committed carnal intercourse against the order of nature on the victim," said Wisma Putra. It said the Federal Court's unanimous guilty verdict on February 10 was based particularly on "strong and direct DNA evidence", and not solely on the victim’s evidence.

"The issue of political conspiracy had been scrutinised extensively by the Federal Court, which held that the defence of political conspiracy remained a mere denial and did not amount to a credible defence.

"Based on the facts and legal basis as expounded in detail to the WGAD, it is unequivocally clear the WGAD’s Opinion that the current sodomy charges against DSAI were politically motivated is unfounded.

"The government further maintains that based on the indisputable facts and legal basis as explained in detail in the reply to the WGAD, DSAI is not a political prisoner."

Wisma Putra added that the government would continue to maintain a good working relationship with UNWGAD and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in Malaysia. On November 2, PKR lawmaker N. Surendran warned Putrajaya not to ignore the UN body's decision, saying it could risk damaging the country's international reputation.

The multi-government working group held a hearing for over two months before reaching the decision, which was passed to Anwar's lawyers as the main applicants, in early October.

Anwar was imprisoned in February this year after the Federal Court upheld a Court of Appeal ruling which found him guilty of sodomy.

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