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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Five Men On Trial In Derby For Urging Execution Of Gays

Jscales Of Justice
Five men are to go on trial on Monday accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation in the first prosecution of its kind.

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mahboob Hassain, 45, and Umer Javed, 38, first appeared in court last January to face the charges.

Two other men, Razwan Javed, 28, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, were also charged with the same offence.

The charges related to an allegation that the men handed out a leaflet called "The Death Penalty?" outside a mosque in Derby, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

The leaflet is understood to have called for homosexuals to be executed.

CPS lawyer Sue Hemming said: "The charges relate to the distribution of a leaflet, "The Death Penalty?", outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July 2010 and through letterboxes during the same month.

"This is the first ever prosecution for this offence and it is the result of close working between the Crown Prosecution Service and Derbyshire Police."

The men will go on trial at Derby Crown Court today.

Ali, Hassain and Umer Javed are charged with three counts each of an offence of sending letters with intent to cause distress or anxiety under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, the CPS said.

Ali is also charged with three offences, contrary to section 5 (b) of the Public Order 1986, in relation to the distribution of leaflets outside the Jamia Mosque.

He faces a further four counts of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, contrary to section 29C (1) of the Public Order Act 1986.

Hassain and Umer Javed are both also charged with two counts each contrary to section 29C (1) of the Public Order Act 1986.

Razwan Javed and Ahmed are both charged with one count each contrary to section 29C (1) of the Public Order Act 1986.

Pandangan dari pemimpin-pemimpin Pakatan

Acquitting Anwar clears way for reforms, says Wall Street Journal

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — The court’s acquittal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from a sodomy charge yesterday is good news for Malaysia and its prospects of becoming a more mature, resilient democracy, the Wall Street Journal said today in an editorial.
The respected international newspaper also pointed out that Malaysia had avoided the consequences of a guilty verdict — domestic polarisation and foreign outrage.
Crucially, the newspaper said the verdict would pave the way for the reform of Umno and the country.
Anwar addressing the crowd soon after his acquittal on January 9, 2012. — Picture by Jack Ooi
The editorial pointed out that the court’s verdict means Barisan Nasional (BN) would now have to face a charismatic Anwar on the stump in the next elections. “But that is preferable to facing him as an imprisoned martyr.”
Anwar, 64, had been charged with sodomising his former male aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26, at a posh condominium in upscale Damansara Heights here four years ago, the second time in his political career. He spent six years in jail before being exonerated in 2004.
Political analysts told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that with the end of the sodomy trial, the two political rivals could now focus their attention on the economy and reforms needed to ensure Malaysia remains competitive.
“The next election will now be fought on policy issues, on alternatives of how the country can be further governed and developed, and on quality instead of sensational issues.
“The positive outcome of the case evens out the playing field,” Ibrahim Suffian from the Merdeka Center told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.
Ibrahim and other analysts believe that yesterday’s verdict gives Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak a chance to reclaim the middle ground of Malaysian politics, after major inroads were made by Pakatan Rakyat parties in Election 2008.
The Wall Street Journal appeared to agree with the argument in its editorial today.
It said Najib’s biggest hurdle to winning votes was the “famous cynicism” among Malaysians that he could carry out his economic and government reform pledges.
“Prime Minister Najib Razak faces the difficult job of reforming Umno before he can reform Malaysia,” the paper said, adding that “many Malaysians who would like to support him as the best hope for reforming the country without the risk of race riots are having second thoughts.”
Najib is also the president of Umno, the lynchpin party in the BN coalition.
The WSJ said voters, especially from among the Chinese and Indian minorities, were now drawn to Islamist opposition party PAS which had shown it has reformed after it “purged” the radical voices from within its ranks and installed leaders who had shown good governance in the states they controlled.
“If it is to stay in power, Umno must now follow suit and rid itself of its old guard, who depend on Malaysia’s system of racial preferences to get rich and grease their patronage networks,” the newspaper said.
It said that Election 2008 had given rise to an urban middle class that no longer votes according to racial lines, which it said meant Umno’s vote bank was no longer the Malay rural vote.
“Younger and better educated voters are turned off by racial chauvinism and political dirty tricks of the type represented by Sodomy II,” the newspaper said.

DPM: Najib’s the winner in Anwar’s acquittal

The court's decision to free the opposition leader was a continuation of PM Najib's transformation programme.
FMT ALERT
PUTRAJAYA: Confidence and support towards the Najib administration will grow following the acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
He said the court’s decision to free the opposition leader was a continuation of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s transformation programme as it indicated the judiciary’s independence as well as non-interference from the executive.
The acquittal also invalidated Anwar’s claim of a top level conspiracy behind the charges, Muhyiddin added, echoing the immediate reaction of other Barisan Nasional leaders to the High Court’s verdict yesterday to acquit Anwar.
“I am certain that the decision will boost the confidence of Malaysians and the international community in Najib’s persistence in leading the country’s transformation process into a better future,” Muhyiddin told a press conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here today.

Abductions of Hindu girls, forced conversions to Islam, on the rise in Pakistan

Bharti, A 15 year-old, is the 18th Hindu girl to have been reportedly abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced to marry a Muslim man, in the Lyari area of Karachi, a city in the south of Pakistan, the Express Tribune of India reported yesterday. The real number is probably much higher. In 2009, in the province of Sindh 18 Hindu girls had also been kidnapped.   

The family of the teenage girl filed a complaint with Bhagdadi police station, and a court hearing has begun. On the first day of the hearing Bharti -- who has been renamed Ayesha, apparently after the favorite wife of Islam's prophet Mohammed -- appeared "clad in a black 'abaya' " and hardly acknowledged her parent's presence.

According to The Times of India, her father "[Narain] Das brought a copy of the National Database and Registration Authority's record, which states that his daughter is 15 years old. However, certificates of her conversion to Islam and her marriage claim she is 18."

It is common in cases of child abduction and forced marriage for the age of the child bride to changed, and for the child to be made much older than is the case. 

At the launch of its "Perils of Faith" report on the threats to minority religions in pakistan, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said “they kidnap girls who are younger than 15 but they say they are adults and that the girls have accepted Islam and been married of their own free will."

The HRCP said that Hindus receive no support in pakistan, and that the "conversion issue is not acceptable, it has discouraged Hindus in Pakistan.”

Nigeria's descent into holy war

A wave of terrorist violence across Nigeria has raised fears of an alliance between the Islamist Boko Haram movement and al-Qaeda's franchise in the Sahara. Colin Freeman reports from the Boko Haram stronghold of Maiduguri. 
Cars allegedly destroyed in army reprisals against residents of Maiduguri for failing to alert them to Boko Haram attacks
Cars allegedly destroyed in army reprisals against residents of Maiduguri for failing to alert them to Boko Haram attacks Photo: TOM SAATER/DEMOTIX

Like many other Christian outposts in the spiritual homeland of Nigeria's "Taliban", the Victory Baptist Church in the northern desert city of Maiduguri no longer just relies on God for protection.

A modest whitewashed spire in a skyline dominated by mosques, for the last month it has had a military guard to defend it from Boko Haram, the militant local Islamist sect blamed for a string of terror attacks nationwide in recent weeks.

The soldiers in the sandbagged machinegun nest outside the church, though, were unable save three members of the flock last week.

On Wednesday evening, three days after Boko Haram ordered all Christians to leave Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria for good, Ousman Adurkwa, a 65-year-old local trader, answered the door of his home near the church to what he thought was an after-hours customer. Instead it was two masked gunmen.

"They shot my father dead, and then came for the rest of the family," Mr Adurkwa's other son Hyeladi, 25, told The Sunday Telegraph the following day. "One chased my brother Moussa and killed him, and the other shot at me, but my mother took the bullet in the stomach instead."

Hyeladi spoke as weeping parishioners gathered for an impromptu memorial service in the Adurkwa family compound, where the parlour carpet was still stained with blood from the gunshot wound suffered by Mrs Aduwurka, 50, who now lies in hospital.

But while the sermon from the local pastor, Brother Balani, urged "prayers for those who God has taken away, and comfort for those who remain", it diplomatically avoided the more earthly question of who actually did it.

For one thing, no-one can be sure the killing was not simply the result of a private feud. And for another, Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sinful", and which wants hardline Sharia law across the whole of Nigeria, has a track record of killing anyone who points the finger at them publicly.

Yet some of the Adurkwa family's neighbouring Christian households have already made up their mind, fleeing the district for fear they might be next.

"We are going through a very difficult time because of Boko Haram," said Joseph Adams, 30, who lives nextdoor to the Aduwurkas. "Two weeks ago a nearby church was also burned down, and nine other Christians have been killed. Now all the houses around me are emptying."

Whether such killings really do herald the start of a pogrom of Christians remains in dispute. The Nigerian government, which is facing criticism for failing to curb Boko Haram's reign of terror, insists last week's threats were simply bluster, despite the deaths of some 23 Christians in two further attacks elsewhere in northern Nigeria on Thursday and Friday.

What is less in doubt is the alarming evolution of the sect, which has progressed from using machetes and poisoned arrows in its infancy to sophisticated carbombs and Mumbai-style mass gun attacks today.

Started as a religious study group in Maiduguri more than 15 years ago, it first took up arms under the leadership of a firebrand former civil servant, Mohammed Yusuf, and focused its wrath mainly against the Nigerian government, which it accused of neglecting the dirt-poor Muslim north.

Today, however, it is believed to be morphing into a new pan-African jihadist franchise, forging links with both al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, which operates in the vast Sahara region north of Nigeria, and al-Shebab in Somalia.

Last August, in what diplomats fear may signal a campaign against Western interests in oil-rich Nigeria, it killed 24 people with a car bombing of the United Nations building in the capital, Abuja.

But what is causing even more worry is its parallel lurch into more sectarian violence, aggravating historic tensions between the Christian south and the Muslim north, and potentially destabilising West Africa's biggest and most powerful nation.

That new agenda was spelt out with a brutal sense of occasion on Christmas Day, when a car bomb killed 42 worshippers at morning mass at St Theresa's Catholic Church in Madalla, just outside Abuja.

Among the bereaved was Steady Esiri, who rushed to the scene to find a charred corpse wearing the distinctive Sunday best dress of his pregnant wife Uche, 26. Her eight-month old foetus had been torn from her womb.

"We were supposed to attend Mass together, but I was busy and planned to go the evening service instead," he said. "Then I heard a huge explosion, and when I rushed here I recognised her dress. She was a wonderful woman, a perfect housewife, now I will have to start my life again. What kind of people do this for political ends?"

For the Reverend Isaac Achi, who feared his 3,500 strong congregation might carry out reprisals against local Muslims, it was cause for a heartfelt sermon the following day reminding them of the Christian virtue of forgiveness.

"I told them revenge would just increase the number of souls dying on both sides," he said last week, looking out over church's wrecked facade, where Christmas decorations still hung lopsidedly. "But if the government cannot stop this kind of thing, I will be worried about the future of Nigeria."

For some Christian leaders, however, the time for meekness is over. In comments that angered Muslim leaders, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the Reverend Ayo Oritsejafor, branded the attacks a "declaration of war" against Christians, and warned that they would "have no choice but to respond appropriately " if the authorities failed to stop them.

Responding to the crisis last weekend, Nigeria's president, Goodluck Jonathan, declared a state of emergency throughout selected northern areas, including Maiduguri, a dusty frontier town near the border with Chad.

Troops, tanks and pick-up trucks of menacing-looking plain clothes police have flooded the city's sandy, unpaved boulevards, where motorbikes - long the favourite method for Boko Haram's hit and run attacks - have long been banned. Nevertheless, an air of menace remains, with the 6pm curfew enforced not just by the soldiers, as by the knowledge that the sect generally mounts attacks from late afternoon onwards. When The Sunday Telegraph visited last week, explosions and gunfire were heard during the hours of darkness.

Pacifying the city has been made harder by the local hostility to the security forces, whose heavy-handed approach has won few hearts and minds over the years.

In 2009, more than 700 people were killed when troops fought a five day battle against Boko Haram followers which culminated in the capture of their leader, Mr Yusuf. But the government's victory was marred by reports that he was summarily executed in police custody, a move that galvanised Yusuf supporters to regroup, and put some locals off cooperating with the authorities.

Last week, The Sunday Telegraph saw one street littered with burned out cars - allegedly set fire to by soldiers after locals failed to warn them of a bomb attack.

"They were angry because we did not give them any information," said one man, afraid to give his name. "But if we do, the sect will come after us. We're stuck in the middle."

Maiduguri, however, is not the only flashpoint city in the region, and nor do Muslim extremists have a monopoly on aggression. In the religiously mixed city of Jos, north of Abuja, Christians are held equally to blame for clashes that have claimed several thousand lives in the last decade alone.

The city, said to be an acronym for "Jesus Our Saviour", sits atop a balmy plateau that provides prime farming land and was once a favoured retreat for British colonials escaping the humid malarial climes of coastal Lagos. But it is jealously regarded as a historic fiefdom by the Christian Berom tribe, who still view the Muslim Hausas who came here a century ago as interlopers, despite having sold them much of their land.

On a walk through Jos's Bukuru district, scene of Muslim-Christian clashes which claimed 150 lives two years ago, the conflicting visions become clear. While the two groups still live side by side in dense shanty towns, patches of no-go-areas abound for each, and no two accounts of how 2010's bloodshed arose are alike.

"It is the Berom who cause the problems, trying to get their land back," said Mohamed Yakuba, 32, gesturing to a row of burned-out houses where his father and eight other relatives died during the clashes.

True, he is still on good terms with his Berom neighbour John Jang, who also lost his home. But when asked for his version of events, Mr Jang insists: "The Birom were simply retaliating for attacks that the Hausa started."

Yet while most Berom and Hausa still muddle along together in every day life - urged on by street posters saying "Stop this wickedness" - some of the Jos's politicians have a less compromising view. None more so than Toma Davou, 73, the Scripture-quoting leader of the Berom parliamentary forum, who greets foreign visitors to Jos by saying "Welcome to Beromland".

"The Hausas want to push us out, and although it is about land occupation, they say it is religious so that they can get the sympathy of Saudi Arabia and al-Qaeda," said Mr Davou. "Christians should arm to the teeth to meet this threat from them and Boko Haram."

Mr Davou is now campaigning for Nigeria to divide into separate Muslim and Christian states, a move that for many would evoke memories of the Biafran civil war of the 1960s.

The Nigerian government dismisses such talk, pointing out that the vast majority of its 150 million citizens get on with one another peaceably, but there is less clarity on the remedy for Boko Haram and al Qaeda, its new ally.

Some Nigerian officials even question whether the sect really exists, saying much of the havoc in Maiduguri is the work of criminal gangs who use its name to frighten people.

But others are convinced that Boko Haram's relationship is indeed having a fledgling relationship with al-Qaeda - not least Robert Fowler, a Canadian diplomat kidnapped by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb while serving with the UN in Niger in 2008.

The gang who held him in the Sahara for 130 days repeatedly told him of their aim to destroy governments across central Africa as a precursor to establishing a pan-African caliphate. And among their number, they also included a Nigerian.

"It would be an obvious partnership to form, even if there isn't any hard evidence yet," Mr Fowler said. "The world should be worried, because Nigeria is a huge country, and if it implodes it will take the rest of West Africa with it."

Sodomy II verdict: Anwar NOT guilty!

Anwar’s victory belongs to Najib

Political observers say that while Anwar is a free man, Najib has also exited the trial relatively unscathed.

PETALING JAYA: Political observers believe that the unexpected freedom granted to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is a stronger boost to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s image than to Pakatan Rakyat’s reformasi momentum.

Anwar walked away a free man from his second sodomy trial this morning after two years of court battles and the verdict has caught many by surprise.

But as the thousands of supporters outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court rejoiced, political pundits noted that the real victory could belong to Barisan Nasional and not Pakatan Rakyat.

Ong Kian Ming of UCSI University emphasised that the most significant of the verdict’s aftermath would be on how Najib would use it to his advantage.

“He will likely try to take credit for it by saying that it indicates the judiciary’s independence,” he predicted. “The general election could very well be in the early part of the year and it will be very important for Najib to maintain momentum by introducing various legislative reforms.”

Associate Professor in Political Science of the Singapore Management University, Bridget Welsh, called Najib a “key winner” in the sodomy verdict which she said gave him a personal opportunity for him to show a middle ground.

She however cautioned against a premature hailing of judicial independence although she acknowledged that the verdict was undoubtedly a good and welcome first step.

“But the judiciary will no longer be battered as far as this sodomy trial is concerned,” Welsh laughed. “I think most people’s surprise over the verdict stemmed from the perception that the trial revolved around political targetting. An acquittal shows that wisdom won out in the end.”

Damage control

Constitutional expert, Abdul Aziz Bari, pointed out that the verdict could also be viewed as “damage control” to save BN from slipping further.

“The court by law should have acquitted Anwar without calling for his defence,” he stated. This sentiment is shared by many political observers and civil society groups who told FMT that the prime injustice was the existence of the charge itself.

One of them is Deputy Asia Director of the Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, who pointed out that Anwar was acquitted on a charge that should never have been brought in the first place.

Robertson even went as far as to call for Malaysia’s government to revoke its “outdated” sodomy law.

“This law is used to slander political opponents and critics,” he said. “Whether or not Anwar engaged in consensual ‘sodomy’ is irrelevant.”

“It’s time to reject this law and end the farcical political theater that promotes discrimination based on sexual orientation and destroys people’s lives.”

The political observers have also deemed the verdict as a personal victory for Anwar and his family more than it is for the opposition.

In an immediate response this morning Ong tweeted, “@anwaribrahim’s acquittal means no more reason for him to go on nationwide tour. will take some political momentum away from PR.”

He later told FMT that the sympathy votes that would have inevitably followed a conviction were now nullified.

“I was expecting up to a 2% vote swing against BN as a result of a conviction,” Ong said. “So the cost of this victory is a loss of those votes. It’s also a sign that the government wants to move on to other things.”

No longer an issue

James Chin of Monash University agreed that it was a “clever move” as both Pakatan and Anwar wouldn’t be able to make it an issue in the next general election.

“I think the people who are most happy about the verdict is DAP because a prison sentence would mean a hiccup in Pakatan’s leadership,” he added. “And DAP has major problems working with (PKR deputy president) Azmin (Ali).”

And then there are those who are adamant that the verdict is nothing more than a political ploy. Parti Socialis Malaysia secretary-general, S Arutchelvan, said that the only way it could be interpreted is an election ploy.

“It is an interesting verdict,” he said. “It looks like the political administration feels like putting Anwar behind bars will have bigger consequences than releasing him as people don’t believe the case against him. If they didn’t acquit it would have a bigger consequence (on the Najib administration).”

Suaram coordinator, E Nalini, credited the people for being the driving force behind the judge’s decision. She too sided with Arutchelvan in suspecting the verdict of being a political ploy and blamed it the “bad trend” set by prior judicial proceedings.

Lawyers For Liberty (LFL) coordinator, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri added that if the government was really serious about reforms and achieving more democratic changes, then it should look into reforms in other areas like the police force and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“We have seen how selective the court has been in cases involving human rights,” she said. “The judicial is flawed as the system itself is questionable.”

Ex-Umno minister: I’m happy for Anwar

Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir lauds High Court decision to acquit the opposition leader.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Information and Tourism Minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir lauded the High Court decision today to acquit Anwar Ibrahim of a sodomy charge.

“I think it’s a great day for the Malaysian judiciary. So many things were said about our judiciary in the past and it was very very dangerous.

“People had no confidence in the judiciary, but today they (judiciary) have redeemed themselves,” the Amanah’s deputy president told reporters at the court steps.

Abdul Kadir, who spoke after Anwar exited the court, said the decision must be taken as a great opportunity to re-establish the independence of the judiciary.

Asked why he was here, he said simply “to hear the verdict”. On whether he was present in his capacity as an Umno member, he said he was representing Amanah.

“I’m happy for Anwar. I’m happy because I have followed this trial and what the judge did was the common sense thing to do.

“If the decision was otherwise, lawyers will shudder at our judiciary,” he said. “Citizens and investors must realise that rule of law will prevail.”

Asked if his statement amounted to an admission that Umno had interfered with the justice system, he said: “No comment”.

He nevertheless added: “It’s true that people were uncomfortable in the independence of our judiciary, there was a big question mark there.”

Meanwhile, DAP strategist Liew Chin Tong said the result may “swing both ways” – for BN or Pakatan.

“PM Najib Tun Razak may be thinking about elections. But it’s hard to say. It can go both ways. It may also help Najib ‘prove’ his reform agenda,” said Liew.

Liew also revealed that in the court of public opinion, surveys showed that 15% are aware of the corruption in Umno, but they are not ready for Pakatan.

“Polls show that 60% are aware of Umno’s corruption but only 45% said they’ll vote Pakatan. This verdict may well cancel each other’s benefit out,” he said.

Saiful redha dengan keputusan mahkamah

Dalam akaun Twitter miliknya, beliau berkata beliau akan terus tenang, berdoa dan sabar menerima keputusan yang dibuat.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pengadu dalam kes liwat membabitkan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan redha dengan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur hari ini yang mendapati Ketua Pembangkang itu tidak bersalah terhadap dakwaan tersebut.

Mohd Saiful, 26, dalam akaun Twitter miliknya, berkata beliau akan terus tenang, berdoa dan sabar menerima keputusan yang dibuat Hakim Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah.

“Tidak di dunia, namun di Masyhar PASTI. Redha dengan ketentuanNya. Akan terus tenang, doa, istiqamah dan sabar. Illahi Antal Maksudi Wa Ridhoka Mathlubi,” demikian entri akaun Twitternya.

Mohd Saiful tidak hadir semasa mahkamah membuat keputusan itu.

Semasa melepas dan membebaskan Anwar daripada pertuduhan itu, Mohamad Zabidin berkata tiada bukti yang menyokong keterangan

Mohd Saiful dan mahkamah tidak boleh bergantung semata-mata kepada keterangan tersebut bagi mensabitkan Anwar.

Sementara itu, Menteri Penerangan Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim menyifatkan keputusan mahkamah itu menunjukkan badan kehakiman negara bebas dan mengeluarkan pendapat serta keputusan tanpa memilih bulu.

“Penghakiman sudah diputuskan…dengan itu sah badan kehakiman negara ini mempunyai reputasi dan pendirian yang boleh disetarafkan dengan keputusan kehakiman negara maju berasaskan kepada ‘rule of law’ atau keunggulan undang-undang,” katanya kepada pemberita, di sini hari ini.

Anwar, 64, dituduh meliwat Mohd Saiful yang juga bekas pembantunya di Kondominium Desa Damansara di Bukit Damansara di sini, antara pukul 3.10 petang dan 4.30 petang 26 Jun 2008.

- Bernama

CNN: Anwar Ibrahim On Acquittal

Press Release: Acquittal on charge of consensual sex between adults is in accord with evidence


ImageThe Malaysian Bar welcomes the decision of the High Court in acquitting Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.  The principles of natural justice call for nothing less, in light of the grave concerns over whether the accused’s right to a fair trial was preserved.
 
Based on news reports of the trial, it is clear that the High Court decision is in accord with the evidence for, amongst others, the following reasons:

(1) The lack of full disclosure: Both prior to and during the trial itself, the legal team for the defence was denied access to certain documents and physical evidence in the possession of the prosecution, which disadvantaged the accused in the preparation of his defence.

(2) Unreliable DNA evidence: There were obvious concerns that the DNA sample submitted as evidence was unreliable or may have been compromised.

(3) Certain unusual findings during the trial proceedings: 

(a) The trial judge made an unprecedented finding at the end of the prosecution’s case that the complainant was a truthful and credible witness, without the benefit of having heard the defence.

(b) While the court allowed the Prime Minister and his wife to be interviewed by the defence legal team, the subpoena issued by the defence compelling the attendance of the Prime Minister and his wife was set aside by the High Court upon the application of the prosecution.  The absence of curiosity in this regard casts grave concerns on the credibility of the complaint in the first place. 

(4) The unrefuted relationship between the complainant and a member of the prosecution team, which raised serious questions whether the complainant had access to investigation papers, which would have enabled him to tailor his evidence at trial.

The charge against Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, which is based on an archaic provision of the Penal Code that criminalises consensual sexual relations between adults, should never have been brought.  The case has unnecessarily taken up judicial time and public funds. 

The Malaysian Bar hopes that the Attorney General would not pursue any appeal, and will instead focus the valuable resources of the Attorney General’s Chambers on more serious crimes.
 
Lim Chee Wee
President
Malaysian Bar

Court Ruling Clears Government Of Baseless Accusations - Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 9 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Monday's court ruling which acquitted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on a sodomy charge has seen the government cleared once and for all of the many baseless accusations of political interference and conspiracy against the leader of the opposition.

"Today's verdict shows once again that, despite what many have claimed, the Malaysian judiciary is an independent institution where neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice," he said.

Najib said this further strengthens the clear separation of powers of each branch of the Malaysian government, with neither branch interfering with the workings of the other.

"As head of the executive branch, I respect the decisions of the other branch of government, the judiciary," the prime minister said in a statement issued after his return from a visit to South Africa.

The High Court Monday acquitted and discharged Anwar, 64, on a charge of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26, in 2008.

Najib noted that this case was brought by a private individual and it was important that he had his accusations heard in court.

"Far from being a politically-motivated prosecution, it has been an unwelcome distraction from the serious business of running our country in the interests of the Malaysian people," he said.

This had been the second sodomy charge faced by Anwar. On Aug 8, 2000, he was convicted and sentenced to nine years' jail after being found guilty by the High Court of sodomising driver Azizan Abu Bakar.

However, four years later, he was freed after the Federal Court, in a 2-1 majority decision, overturned the conviction and set aside the jail sentence.

Anwar verdict:10000 throng Permatang Pauh ceramah

Some 10000 people converged at the Expo site in Seberang Jaya within Anwar’s Permatang Pauh constituency in renewed determination to propel PKR and Pakatan to greater heights.
PKR strategist Saifuddin Nasution said Anwar’s release has had an extraordinary effect on Pakatan, galvanising the coalition and rejuvenating its supporters.
Among the speakers were Azmin Ali and Guan Eng. Also present were Sim Tze Tzin and Toh Kin Woon.
Surprisingly – and refreshingly – I did not notice any uniformed police personnel around
Some were disappointed that Anwar did not turn up. Instead he would be passing through this way this weekend on the way to the Pakatan convention in Alor Setar.
At first, I estimated the crowd at 5000, from what I could see. But a PKR activist said that all sides of the exco site were filled with people and the turnout was much bigger than during the Bersih 2.0 roadshow last year. That was evidently true as I made my way out of the event. Cars were double- and even triple-parked along the highway outside the grounds.