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Resolution adopted by consensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 186th session*
(Bangkok, 1 April 2010)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, an incumbent member of the Parliament of Malaysia, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of communications concerning violations of the human rights of members of parliament,

Recalling the following: Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, Finance Minister from 1991 to 1998 and Deputy Prime Minister from December 1993 to September 1998, was dismissed from both posts in September 1998 and was arrested on charges of abuse of power 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; on 2 September 2004, the Federal Court quashed the conviction in the sodomy case and ordered Mr. Ibrahim's release, as he had already served his sentence in the abuse of power case; under Malaysian law, as a result of the conviction in the abuse of power case, Mr. Ibrahim was prevented from holding office in political parties or standing for election until 14 April 2008; a pardon petition submitted in May 2005 by a group of Malaysian citizens has never been considered; Mr. Ibrahim was, however, able to campaign for the Kaedilan Rakyat Party (People's Justice Party), which was led by his wife Dr. Wan Azizah, during the 8 March 2008 elections, in which opposition parties took 47.8% of the ballot nationwide, thus for the first time depriving the ruling coalition of the two-thirds majority required for amending the Constitution; recalling also that the IPU had arrived at the conclusion that the motives for Anwar Ibrahim's prosecution were not of a legal nature and that the case was built on a presumption of guilt,

Considering that Mr. Anwar Ibrahim was re-elected on 26 August 2008 and has since been the de facto leader of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (The People's Alliance),

Considering the following: on 28 June 2008 Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a former male aide in Anwar Ibrahim's office, filed a complaint alleging that he had been forcibly sodomized by Anwar Ibrahim in a private condominium. When it was pointed out that Anwar, at the time of the alleged rape 61 years old and suffering from a bad back, was no physical match for a healthy 24-year-old, the complaint was revised to indicate homosexual conduct by persuasion; Anwar was arrested on 16 July 2008 and released the next day and was formally charged on 6 August 2008 under Section 377B of the Malaysia Penal Code which punishes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" with "imprisonment for a term which may extend to 20 years and shall also be liable to whipping; Anwar Ibrahim has pleaded not guilty to the charge and has, according to the source, a solid alibi for the day and time mentioned in the charge sheet; if convicted, Anwar Ibrahim would also be forced to relinquish his parliamentary seat. Even if he were sentenced to just one day's imprisonment or fined at least RM 2000 (US$ 600), he would be barred from standing in elections for five years.

Considering the following procedural irregularities and other incidents that occurred before and during investigation:

  • Saiful gave testimony in court that he was not examined until about 52 hours after the alleged incident, and the first doctor from Hospital Pusrawi (Pusat Rawatan Islam) reported he found no evidence of anal penetration. About two hours later, Saiful then visited Hospital Kuala Lumpur, a government hospital, and a report endorsed by three specialists from that hospital reached the same conclusion;

  • The initial First Information Report to the police by the complainant was not released to Anwar Ibrahim's counsel for months, raising concerns about evidence-tampering, especially as regards DNA samples; moreover, it has been confirmed that Saiful visited the office and home of the then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak a few days before he made the allegations, which Mr. Najib initially denied took place; Saiful reportedly also had a private meeting with senior police officer Rodwan Yusof at a hotel the day before the alleged sodomy report was made by Saiful;

  • The main members of the prosecution team were involved in the earlier sodomy case. Attorney General Abdul Ganil Patail, was then the main prosecutor. He has been investigated by Malaysia's anti-corruption agency over allegations that he had fabricated evidence in that case;

  • Anwar Ibrahim's lawyers have been denied pretrial access to DNA specimen samples. On 29 January 2010 the Court of Appeal made a ruling rejecting the High Court's ruling, which had held that he could have access to medical and other crucial evidence held by the prosecution. An appeal to the Federal Court in this matter was rejected on procedural grounds. Anwar Ibrahim was likewise denied access to, inter alia, statements by the plaintiff and key prosecution witnesses, notes from doctors who examined Saiful and original copies of CCTV surveillance system tapes from the condominium at the time of the alleged incident;

  • Utusan Malaysia, a newspaper owned by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the lead party in the ruling coalition, published false information gathered during the court's in camera fact-finding visit to the condominium where the alleged sodomy took place. Moreover, in March 2009, Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail signed the transfer certificate transferring the case from a Sessions Court to the High Court although initially the then Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi had assured that Abdul Gani would not be involved in any way in the prosecution of Anwar. Furthermore, at the time when Abdul Gani issued the order, he was under investigation over allegations that he fabricated evidence against Anwar Ibrahim in the 1998 sodomy case,
Considering the following information provided with regard to the trial proceedings:
  • On 1 December 2009 the High Court scheduled Anwar Ibrahim's trial for 25 January to 25 February 2010. The defence applied for postponement to the trial High Court and also to the Federal Court, which denied the request and proceeded, on 20 January 2010, to hear pending appeal on two interlocutory matters (application for pretrial documents and striking out of charge). Reserving its judgment on the matter of pretrial documents, the Federal Court ordered the main trial to start on 2 February 2010. At the same time, the Federal Court fixed 29 January for delivering its decision on a defence appeal regarding access to pretrial documents and raw samples for independent testing. In addition, another defence appeal to strike out the charge was pending. According to defence lawyers, never before had a case in a lower court started while appeals were pending in the superior courts whose rulings would have a direct effect on the main trial;

  • Anwar Ibrahim's second sodomy trial finally started on 2 February. The court denied an application of the defence to stay the main trial until decision on pending appeals. It also ruled against providing the defendant with a list of prosecution witnesses. The defence submitted an application for the judge to decline to act in the case, which the judge dismissed on 18 February 2010, and the defence decided to withdraw that appeal on 16 March 2010; on 25 March 2010, the schedule of hearings was set; the only evidence heard during this first phase was the complainant's testimony-in-chief,
Bearing in mind that the law punishing homosexual acts dates back to British colonial rule in India and was adopted by the former British colonies; that Singapore decriminalized homosexuality in 2009 and that the Delhi High Court, by setting aside a conviction in 2009 when the acts were between consenting adults, thus also effectively decriminalizing homosexuality,

Noting that Anwar Ibrahim's renewed sodomy trial has been widely criticized as a bid to wreck Anwar Ibrahim's political career,

  1. Is deeply concerned at the new sodomy charges and proceedings brought against Anwar Ibrahim, which seem to suffer from flaws similar to those of the first sodomy trial several years ago of which he was acquitted at final instance;

  2. Believes that, in the light of the two medical reports concluding that there were no physical signs of penetration, charges should not have been pressed in the first place and should now be dismissed;

  3. Is moreover alarmed that members of the prosecution team who were involved in the first sodomy trial, the main prosecutor at the time and now Attorney General, having even been accused of having fabricated evidence against Anwar Ibrahim, are again involved in the present proceedings and that Anwar Ibrahim's defence team has been prevented from exercising its right to access prosecution evidence and been hindered in its preparation of the defence;

  4. Firmly recalls that equality of arms between the prosecution and the defence is an essential element of a fair trial and that, failing action to ensure that the defence can exercise its rights, any judgments issued by the court will be fundamentally flawed;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to make the necessary arrangements to ensure the presence of a trial observer at the coming hearings;

  6. Requests the Secretary General to inform the Malaysian parliamentary authorities accordingly;

  7. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held on the occasion of the 123rd IPU Assembly (October 2010).

The delegation of Malaysia expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.
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