UN rights office ‘disappointed’ to see Malaysian opposition leader prison sentence upheld

10 February 2015

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today that it is disappointed that Malaysia’s Federal Court ruled to uphold the imprisonment of opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

The Federal Court agreed with a decision made by the Appeals Court in March 2014, which sentenced Mr. Ibrahim to five years in prison on charges of sodomy, a crime that should not exist under international human rights law, said the High Commissioner’s spokesperson, Rupert Colville, briefing press in Geneva.

Mr. Colville said Mr. Ibrahim had faced a number of charges and lengthy judicial processes after removal from the Government in 1998.

“There were allegations that that case had been politically motivated and the trial marred by violations of due process rights in relation to the opportunities provided to the defence, raising concerns about the fairness of the judicial process,” said Mr. Colville. “In addition, Mr. Ibrahim had been investigated and his lawyers prosecuted under the 1948 Sedition Act for speaking about the case.”

Mr. Colville added that OHCHR was highly concerned by the increasing use of the Sedition Act in “an apparently arbitrary and selective fashion,” against political opposition, human rights activists, journalists, lawyers and university professors in Malaysia since 2014.

 

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