TheAge: Anwar judge protected conspiracy, says lawyer
By Mark Baker
27/3/2002 12:58 am Wed
By Mark Baker - Asia Editor Kuala Lumpur March 27 2002
A judge who sentenced former Malaysian deputy prime
minister Anwar Ibrahim to 15 years' jail refused to admit
witnesses whose evidence could have proved that Mr Anwar
was the victim of a political conspiracy, the country's
highest court was told yesterday.
The Federal Court was also told that Justice Augustine
Paul had abused his position by threatening the defence
team, amending charges and expunging vital evidence from
the court record during the 1998 trial that followed Mr
Anwar's sacking by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad over
discredited allegations of sexual misconduct.
"Anwar was subjected to the most unfair trial imaginable.
No parallel can be found in Malaysian legal history,"
defence lawyer Christopher Fernando told the appeal
hearing. "We had compelling direct evidence of an attempt
to fabricate evidence against Anwar but all this evidence
was ruled inadmissable . . . it was a gross miscarriage of
The appeal before a three-man bench headed by Chief
Justice Dzaiddin Abdullah is being watched by Western
embassies, international human rights groups and
opposition parties as a crucial test for the future of the
Mahathir Government - and for the Malaysian legal system.
A decision to acquit Mr Anwar would be political dynamite
for Dr Mahathir, who suffered a backlash from Malay voters
over the dismissal of his once anointed successor before
rebuilding his political fortunes since the events of
The case is also seen as a vital test for the independence
of the Malaysian judiciary, with speculation that the
reformist Chief Justice Dzaiddin is preparing to take a
stand against political interference with the courts
before he retires later this year.
The defence team yesterday detailed what they described as
a systematic effort by Justice Paul to exclude all
evidence during the trial of a conspiracy to frame Mr
Anwar - who was accused of sodomising his driver, having
an affair with the wife of his private secretary and
attempting to block police investigations.
Mr Fernando said the judge refused to hear the evidence of
several vital defence witnesses, including a lawyer
approached by government officials to help fabricate
evidence and the owner of a Washington car hire company
offered money by a Malaysian diplomat to concoct
allegations of sexual misconduct.
Lawyer Manjeet Singh had signed an affidavit alleging that
chief prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail - now Malaysia's
Attorney-General - had approached him and offered a deal
to amend serious charges against a client who was a friend
of Mr Anwar's if the man agreed to make false reports
against the former deputy prime minister.
When the allegations were raised during the trial, Justice
Paul refused to allow Manjeet Sinh to be called as a
witness and sentenced one of the defence lawyers to three
months' jail for contempt of court - a sentenced
overturned on appeal.
Mr Fernando said Justice Paul had repeatedly threatened to
charge other defence lawyers with contempt, had amended
charges and expunged evidence to stop the conspiracy
against Mr Anwar being revealed.
The hearings are scheduled to continue into next week.
26 Mar 2002 11:01
By Barani Krishnan
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Reuters) - Malaysia's jailed
former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, resumed an
appeal on Tuesday fighting his six year sentence on
corruption charges claiming he received an unfair trial.
Anwar, who is also serving nine years for sodomy, says the
charges against him were trumped up by cronies of Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad, sat in a wheelchair for the
Federal Court hearing because he is suffering from a
"The appellant has been subjected to the most unfair trial
imaginable," Anwar's lawyer Christopher Fernando told the
court. "No parallel can be found in Malaysian legal
Mahathir has maintained Anwar received fair trials.
Anwar, whom Washington calls a political prisoner, was
sentenced in April 1999 on four counts of corruption, or
abuse of power.
Once seen as Mahathir's likely successor, Anwar arrived at
the Federal Court in a police van and waved to around 30
supporters as he emerged.
He was sacked in 1998 at the height of the Asian financial
crisis, after challenging Mahathir's authority, Anwar's
subsequent humiliation caused a split in the majority
ethnic Malay vote, with many passing over to the
opposition Muslim fundamentalist party.
Criticism of trial judge Augustine Paul's conduct during
the 1998-99 trial is at theart of Anwar's defence.
Fernando said the judge blocked attempts to see if there
was a conspiracy against the former deputy prime minister,
and threatened the defence with contempt proceedings
whenever it tried show the charges were fabricated.
The judge also barred key witnesses, including the
testimony of a U.S.-based chauffeur who says he was
offered a bribe to say Anwar had a homosexual relationship
with him, Fernando said.
The judge also refused to admit an affidavit from a
Pakistan-born speech writer who said he was tortured into
giving false testimony that he had sex with Anwar.
Anwar is appealing separately his sodomy conviction.
Paul even sentenced to jail one defence lawyer, Zainur
Zakaria, for filing an affidavit that two prosecutors in
the case tried to cook up evidence against Anwar -- though
this was overturned by the Federal Court on appeal.
The appeal, a resumption of February hearings, was
adjourned until Thursday.
Hearings are expected to last a few more days, but it is uncertain when Malaysia's highest court will rule, officials said.