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Resolution adopted by concensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 189th session1
(Bern, 19 October 2011)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Referring to the case of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, an incumbent member of the Parliament of Malaysia, as outlined in the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians (CL/189/11(b)-R.1), and to the resolution adopted at its 188th session (April 2011),

Referring also to the first trial observer report submitted by Mr. Mark Trowell QC, in August 2010 (CL/187/12(b)-R.2), as well as to his second report, submitted in March 2011, and the comments provided thereon by the Malaysian delegation to the 124th IPU Assembly (CL/188/13(b)‑R.3), noting that, in another report, Mr. Mark Trowell responded to the comments of the Malaysian delegation and has since then provided the Committee with reports on the hearings in this case which he observed in June, August and September 2011,

Noting that, in his letter of 12 October 2011, the Speaker of parliament referred to the sub judice stage of the trial under way against Anwar Ibrahim, as did the members of the Malaysian delegation whom the Committee heard during the 125th IPU Assembly,

Recalling that Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is being prosecuted, for the second time, on a charge of sodomy under Section 377B of the Malaysian Penal Code and that the proceedings have raised serious questions regarding the fairness of the trial; recalling in this respect that, upon the revelation of a liaison between the complainant (the alleged victim) and a member of prosecution team, the trial observer considered that the prosecution was compromised to the point that the case should be discontinued,

Considering that, at the close of the prosecution case, the trial Judge ruled on 16 May 2011 that there was a prima facie case and that the accused therefore had a defence to enter, stating inter alia the following: "… I find the prosecution, through the evidence of PW1 (the alleged victim) which had been corroborated in material particulars, had proved all the facts required to establish all of the ingredients of the charge …",

Considering that, in his report of June 2011 on this issue, Mr. Trowell observed that the sentence quoted above seemed to suggest that the Judge concluded that the prosecution had proved the charge and that, if this was so, he applied a higher standard of proof as required under the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Act2 which would not be appropriate at this intermediate stage of the proceedings; it "would be an error of law for a judicial officer to come to that conclusion without hearing all of the evidence and not just the prosecution witnesses"; however, Mr. Trowell also stated that the evidence referred to by the Judge was sufficient to require the accused to answer the prosecution case, but was by no means conclusive evidence as it was untested evidence,

Considering that the defence case opened on 22 August 2011 with the accused, Anwar Ibrahim, making a statement from the dock, that a number of defence witnesses were heard, in particular two forensic experts, a molecular geneticist specializing in DNA testing for forensic and diagnostic matters, and Anwar Ibrahim’s orthopaedic surgeon who had operated on him following the injuries he had sustained when assaulted by police in 1998 while in detention during his first sodomy trial; noting that, according to the trial observer, at the conclusion of the latter’s testimony, it was anticipated that the defence case would close; that, however, the Judge allowed an application of the Deputy Prosecutor to call rebuttal witnesses to deal only with the testimony of Anwar Ibrahim’s surgeon concerning his physical ability to perform the alleged sexual act, and that therefore the proceedings are still continuing,

Recalling further that on 16 December 2010 the House of Representatives, endorsing a decision by the Committee on Privileges which it adopted at the closure of a procedure in which Anwar Ibrahim was denied his right to defence, either through legal representation or in person, suspended Anwar Ibrahim for six months on account of a statement he had made on 17 March 2010 on the floor of the House deemed to have misled the House,

  1. Thanks the Speaker of Parliament and the Malaysian delegation for their cooperation; also thanks Mr. Mark Trowell QC for his report;

  2. Notes that Anwar Ibrahim’s six-month suspension period has now concluded; deeply regrets Parliament’s suspension decision since it punished a member of parliament on account of a statement which should have been protected by parliamentary privilege; firmly believes that such decisions can only prejudice the ability of members of parliament to speak freely on the floor of the House on all issues of concern to them, and that they thus jeopardize Parliament’s essential function as a debating chamber;

  3. Notes that the sodomy trial against Anwar Ibrahim is still under way and requests the Committee to follow attentively observance of respect for the procedure and the rights of the defence;

  4. Notes, however, that there is nothing to dispel the concerns it has expressed earlier about those proceedings, in particular regarding their timing, the implication in the proceedings of members of the prosecution team who were involved in the first sodomy trial, the meeting between the alleged victim and then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, and the systematic refusal of the trial Judge to admit defence petitions for the disclosure of vital prosecution evidence;

  5. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary authorities, to Anwar Ibrahim and to his defence team, along with Mr. Trowell’s final report on the trial;

  6. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 126th IPU Assembly (March/April 2012).

  1. The delegation of Malaysia expressed its reservation regarding the resolution.
  2. Section 180, para. 1, of the Malaysian Criminal Procedure Act reads as follows: “When the case for the prosecution is concluded, the Court shall consider whether the prosecution has made out a prima facie case against the accused.”

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