Malaysian Lawyers Conclude Appeal Against Anwar's Corruption Conviction
Associated Press, April 2, 2002
By Sean Yoong
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Calling for a fair verdict,
lawyers for former deputy leader Anwar Ibrahim completed his appeal in
Malaysia's highest court Tuesday against a corruption conviction and six-year
Anwar said he believed his lawyers had presented a solid case during eight
days of appeal hearings—the last legal avenue open to him to overturn the
"Based on the law and the facts, I feel absolutely confident,"
Anwar told reporters in the Federal Court before being taken back to prison.
Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah said the three-judge panel hearing
the appeal would "reserve its judgment until a date to be fixed."
"Several issues of law and facts were canvassed, and we require time
to deliberate on all these issues," Dzaiddin told the court.
The case hinges on whether Anwar abused his power as Malaysia's then-deputy
prime minister in 1997 to get police to obtain forced retractions from people
who accused him of sodomy and adultery.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired the popular Anwar in 1998 amid a rift
over economic policy. His ouster triggered large street protests.
Anwar claims his subsequent trials for corruption and sodomy—which
resulted in prison terms totaling 15 years—were orchestrated to prevent him
from challenging Mahathir for power. The government denies it.
On Tuesday, defense lawyers said the High Court judge who convicted Anwar
of corruption had ignored proof of a conspiracy against Anwar.
"There is no cogent evidence to support the conviction," said
Anwar's lead counsel, Raja Aziz Addruse. "The appellant did not have a
fair trial because he was prevented from calling material witnesses."
While the corruption appeal was over, Anwar—who is only seen in public
for legal proceedings—was scheduled to return to court Wednesday for the
start of lawsuit hearings against Abdul Rahim Noor, Malaysia's former police
chief who was convicted of beating Anwar in custody.
Anwar is suing the government and Abdul Rahim for damages over the assault.
Abdul Rahim served 40 days in prison last year for punching and slapping a
blindfolded Anwar as he sat handcuffed to a prison bed in 1998.
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