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Anwar’s Case Not About Politics, Says Muhammad Shafee

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PUTRAJAYA – The case of Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sodomising his former personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan is not a story about politics, but a human story and from the judiciary’s perspective, the role of Malaysia’s justice system to enable both sides of the story to be heard, said the prosecution team’s senior counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

He said is was a story about all men, regardless of their power, being equal before the law.

“We all have a duty to the victim, a young man who was Anwar Ibrahim’s personal assistant, and who through no fault of his own found himself in the national and international spotlight.

“As with all victims of serious crimes, he had the right to see his complaint properly investigated by the police and judiciary,” he said in his statement for the prosecution which he read out to members of the media outside the Federal Court after the appeal hearing here today.

Anwar today failed in his final appeal at the Federal Court against his conviction for sodomising Mohd Saiful, and the court also retained the five-year jail sentence imposed on him by the Appeals Court.

The Appeals Court decision was upheld by a panel of five judges headed by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria.

Muhammad Shafee also urged members of the media to impartially look at the facts of the case, to analyse the meticulous judgements, and to carry these, as best as they might, to the people.

“I am afraid some media appear to regard the Malaysian courts as acting fairly whenever they find in Anwar Ibrahim’s favour, and as compromised whenever they do not,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee said he was professionally satisfied with the result today.

“But it gives me no pleasure – a young man’s life has been wrecked, changed forever.

“Worse still, without anonymity, the victim was put through seven hours of courtroom cross-examination and all that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s team could throw at him. So, even the process of justice added to his suffering,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee said on the other hand, Anwar refused to face cross-examination and chose to give no more than a statement from the dock.

“I was appointed at the Court of Appeal until the final stages of the appeal at the Federal Court, the highest court in the land. It has been a very difficult task, because what would in ordinary circumstances be a straightforward case of sexual assault by an employee against an employer has been used as a battering ram against the reputation of the judiciary.

“So, I ask all fair-minded people in Malaysia and overseas to consider carefully before forming an opinion, and to review the actual evidence in the case. Most importantly, please read today’s judgment and the previous judgments word for word. They provide the facts – however ugly – of the case,” he said.

He said every judgement is based on fact, for example DNA evidence, whereby, Malaysia has two key features in its treatment of DNA.

“Firstly, we require 16 out of 16 matching points, and, secondly, no law in the country compels a person to give a DNA sample.

“No country demands higher – most, such as the UK and the United States, allow much less. All the DNA that supported this case matched 16 out of 16 – in gambler’s jargon, a ‘full flush’. And all the DNA was from semen, which is more reliable from say, DNA from sweat. You cannot steal, fake or contaminate it,” he
said.

Muhammad Shafee said secondly, in Malaysia there is no law that compels someone to give a DNA sample but when Anwar challenged the prosecution’s samples in court, he had the opportunity to offer his own samples, as fresh evidence.

“If innocent, he could have done so and closed the case overnight. He chose not to do so,” he said.

Regarding Anwar’s alibi, Muhammad Shafee said he initially offered an extensive one but abandoned it completely when it was demonstrated to be false by CCTV footage shown to the court, all of which were established long ago.

In addition, he said Anwar also refused to swear on the Quran about the incident whereas Mohd Saiful had sworn on the Quran about the details of the case, both in Malaysia and and the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest mosque.

“The case before the highest court in Malaysia was a technical one: in all of the exhaustive legal processes and in all the layers of evidence, was there any possibility that due process had not been followed? Was there any technicality? Today, the answer of the judges was no. Today, they ruled on the decisons already taken, the evidence long ago tested and presented,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee said the great smear was the much-repeated allegation by Anwar that this case was politically-motivated, but as the judgement today detailed, this was simply false.

“Nobody could have scripted the twists and turns of the extraordinary and comprehensive legal processes, including the many decisions that have gone in Anwar’s favour. The only politically-motivated actions here are those of Anwar and his supporters who have been demanding that the case be dropped,” he added. – BERNAMA

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