An IPU human rights delegation today (29 June) has begun a three-day mission to Malaysia which includes a prison visit to jailed former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
A three-member IPU team from the Organization’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians will assess the conditions in which Anwar is being held amid concerns that the 67-year-old is in increasingly frail health. A meeting will also be held with his wife and daughter.
Anwar is serving a five-year prison term after losing a lengthy court battle to clear his name of sodomy charges. The conviction also resulted in the loss of his parliamentary mandate.
The IPU human rights team, which includes MPs from Chile and Senegal, will also hold discussions with Malaysian government, parliamentary and judicial authorities about the legal proceedings which led to Anwar’s conviction.
The Committee has repeatedly expressed concerns over trial procedures, including the appeal court ruling which upheld his conviction in February, and the series of charges that have been brought against the former opposition leader since 1999.
The IPU mission will similarly seek further information and clarification on the alleged human rights violations of at least eight opposition MPs – including Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar. The MPs are either facing sedition charges or are under investigation for having taken part in a demonstration calling for Anwar’s release. Nurul Izzah was briefly arrested in March after criticising the judiciary for her father’s conviction during a speech in parliament.
IPU is seeking clarity on what impact an amended Sedition Act adopted in April will have on the charges and investigations being brought against the opposition MPs in March. The human rights mission will look at whether the accusations against the MPs are in line with international standards on freedom of expression and assembly.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) is the global organization of national parliaments. It works to safeguard peace and drives positive democratic change through political dialogue and concrete action.