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Resolution adopted unanimously by the IPU Council
at its 171st session (Geneva, 27 September 2002)

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the outline of the case of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, a member of the House of Representatives of Malaysia, as contained in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/171/12(a)-R.1), and to the relevant resolution adopted at its 170th session (March 2002),

Taking into consideration the observations provided by the parliamentary authorities on this resolution,

Recalling that, having been dismissed from his post as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mr. Ibrahim was arrested and prosecuted on charges of corruption and sodomy; he was found guilty on both counts and sentenced, in April 1999 and August 2000 respectively, to a total of 15 years' imprisonment which he is currently serving,

Considering that, while no date has as yet been set to hear Mr. Ibrahim's appeal in the sodomy case, the Federal Court on 10 July 2002 dismissed at last instance Anwar Ibrahim's appeal against the corruption charges,

Recalling its earlier concerns regarding respect for the right to fair trial in this case, in particular the right to defence; recalling in particular the following: on 27 June 2001, the Federal Court set aside the judgment handed down by the trial judge against Zainur Zakaria, one of the defence lawyers, in which he had found him guilty of contempt of court for having produced in court a document to the effect that the prosecution was attempting to fabricate evidence against Anwar Ibrahim; recalling its view that the judgment in the Zainur Zakaria case had strong implications for Anwar Ibrahim's case as it tended to add weight to its fear that Mr. Anwar Ibrahim's prosecution and sentencing may well have been politically motivated,

Considering in this connection the opinion of the parliamentary authorities that the judgment in the Zainur Zakaria case was unrelated to Anwar Ibrahim's case and that, in acquitting Zainur Zakaria, the Federal Court merely relied on the fact that the procedure adopted by the trial judge was flawed; noting in this respect, however, that in their judgment the Chief Justices pointed out the "sacrosanctity" of the right of defendants to answer the charges and to prepare their "defence fully, fairly and effectively … a principle so fundamental to our system of justice",

Recalling that Mr. Anwar has been hospitalised in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital since 24 November 2000 and that his surgeon concluded that he required urgent spinal surgery which, in his view, could only be performed satisfactorily abroad; however, Mr. Ibrahim was not allowed to go abroad for such treatment; on 31 May 2001, the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) stated publicly that he should be allowed to undergo medical treatment abroad, noting that the 1995 Prison Act allowed the prison authorities to release a prisoner on licence and that nothing prevented Anwar Ibrahim from being sent abroad for medical treatment; considering the observation made in this respect by the parliamentary authorities to the effect that the Prison Act did not confer any right on a prisoner to medical treatment abroad, and that this was in conformity with international norms in this field,

Recalling also that, after his arrest in September 1998, Mr. Anwar Ibrahim was assaulted by the then Inspector General of Police, Rahim Noor, who beat him up; following the findings of a specially instituted Royal Commission, he was charged with causing grievous bodily harm; he pleaded guilty only after the charge was amended to the lesser offence of "causing hurt" and, in March 2000, he was found guilty of that charge, fined US$ 530, sentenced to two months' imprisonment and granted bail pending appeal; the sentence was confirmed on appeal and, according to the authorities, Rahim Noor served the two-month prison term,

  1. Thanks the Malaysian Parliament for the information provided;

  2. Deeply regrets the dismissal by the Federal Court of Anwar Ibrahim's appeal in the "corruption case", all the more so given the Court's strong emphasis on the right to defence in its judgment on Zainur Zakaria's appeal; can but consider, particularly in the light of that judgment, that the court of first instance, in disallowing evidence to the effect that the prosecution attempted to fabricate evidence against Anwar Ibrahim, has not given Anwar Ibrahim a full opportunity to clear himself of the charges against him;

  3. Continues therefore to believe that Mr. Anwar Ibrahim's prosecution and sentencing may well have been politically motivated;

  4. Acknowledges that, under the Malaysian Prison Act, prisoners are not entitled to medical treatment abroad; reaffirms, however, that recommendations of a National Human Rights Commission carry special weight and should not be dismissed by the competent authorities; calls therefore once again on the authorities, in particular the Malaysian Parliament as a guardian of human rights, to give full support to the clear recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission so as to obtain permission for Anwar Ibrahim to follow his personal choice of medical treatment abroad;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the Malaysian authorities and to the sources;

  6. Requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session (April 2003).

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