Anwar appeals against sodomy conviction

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday again appealed for his sodomy conviction to be overturned on the grounds that the verdict was a "grave injustice".

In an application for the decision to be reviewed under a 1995 Federal Court rule, he said the "extraordinary swiftness and timing" of a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office on the date of judgement gave the impression of an unfair trial.

Shortly after the guilty verdict, the PMO had hailed the "independence" of the judiciary, pointing out there have been many rulings against senior government figures.

Anwar, 67, is serving a five-year jail term after being found guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008 - a decade after being found guilty of having "unnatural sex" with his former speech-writer and adopted brother.

In that case, he was found guilty but the ruling was overturned by the Federal Court in 2004.

In 2012, he was acquitted in the second case but the Court of Appeal reversed the verdict last year. He filed an appeal in February this year but the Federal Court upheld the appellate court's ruling, and he was jailed.

Yesterday's application was filed under a federal court rule that limits the powers of the Court to hear or make any order "to prevent injustice or to prevent an abuse of the process of the Court".

In his nine-page affidavit, Mr Anwar noted the lead prosecutor had personally attacked him. He also accused Umno of engineering a political conspiracy against him and pointed out that the Prime Minister had met Mr Saiful before the alleged incident.

"For us, the injustice is clear and let's hope we get a good decision. As long as there is a victim of injustice, there is no last resort," Anwar's lawyer N. Surendran told The Straits Times. "As far as we are concerned, the legal system must be pushed to the boundaries to ensure justice is done."

This is not the first time Anwar has filed an application under Rule 137. In 2010, he called for a review of the Federal Court's decision to reject his appeal to procure documents to assist him in the preparation of his case.

That application was dismissed.

This article was first published on May 1, 2015.
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