Malaysiakini NEWS

Anwar's last bid for freedom at apex court tomorrow

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After serving one year and eight months for sodomy, Anwar Ibrahim has almost exhausted his legal remedies in seeking an acquittal.

Tomorrow, the apex court will hear Anwar's final legal bid to set aside his sodomy conviction and five-year sentence for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 31.

Anwar wants the Federal Court to invoke Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 and review the decision of the five-member panel led by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria.

Alternatively, he wants the Federal Court to re-hear his appeal on its merits.

Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules 1995 allows the losing party to seek a review of a Federal Court decision.

Although the Federal Court has the jurisdiction to review its own decision to prevent injustice and abuse of the court process, generally this will only be exercised in very exceptional circumstances.

Anwar, 68, is currently serving a five-year jail term in Sungai Buloh Prison after the federal court on Feb 10, 2015 upheld his conviction and sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal on March 7, 2014.

In a 116-page written judgment, Justice Arifin said the apex court upheld the conviction and the sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal after taking into consideration the seriousness of the sodomy offence and the fact that Anwar had taken advantage of his position as the employer of a young victim.

Arifin led a five-man bench comprising Court of Appeal president Md Raus Sharif and Federal Court judges Abdull Hamid Embong, Suriyadi Halim Omar and Ramly Ali.

On Jan 9, 2012, the High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar of the charge on the grounds that the court could not be 100 percent certain on the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from the alleged victim.

The court had ruled that the samples could have been compromised before they reached the Chemistry Department for analysis.

However, the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court judgment and found Anwar guilty of sodomising Mohd Saiful; it held that the trial judge had erred in his findings about the samples which were based on the evidence of two expert witnesses called by the defence.

Anwar was alleged to have committed the offence at Unit 11-5-1 of Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara here between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Anwar will be represented by a team of lawyer led by Gopal Sri Ram, who was a former Federal Court judge.

The prosecution would be handled by deputy public prosecutors from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC).

"My officers from AGC are more than qualified to handle the case by themselves. By the way I am not in the country," said attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali through SMS when asked who would be leading the prosecution.

Previously during appeals at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court, lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had led the prosecution team.

Muhammad Shafee was appointed by the attorney-general (at that time) by fiat (authorisation) under Section 376 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code and Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to conduct the appeals. His letter of appointment was signed by the attorney-general on July 2, 2013.

- Bernama

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