Last edited: November 06, 2004

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 prison sentence.

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 conviction.

"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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