Forty individuals from around the world have condemned what they perceive to be Anwar Ibrahim’s politically motivated convictions and called for his release.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Anwar Ibrahim, and condemn the politically motivated charges that led to his five-year prison sentence.
10 August 2015, marks Anwar Ibrahim’s 68th birthday and his 182nd day as a prisoner of conscience. Prior to his imprisonment, Anwar Ibrahim was the Leader of Malaysia’s emerging Opposition, and a prominent moderate Muslim leader who dedicated his political life to defend democracy, uphold the rule of law and sought social justice for all.
Anwar Ibrahim’s trial took place after he led the opposition coalition to an unprecedented electoral victory in Malaysia’s general elections in 2013, winning 51 per cent of the popular vote. Many believe that this blow to the incumbent government’s power prompted Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction and imprisonment.
The trial that eventually led to Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction was seen as biased and unfair by the independent observers who attended the proceedings. The unfair trial, coupled with the political motivations behind it led Amnesty International to declare Anwar Ibrahim a prisoner of conscience.
As supporters of an independent and fair judicial system, we condemn such politically motivated convictions that serve those in power.
The political machinations behind Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction are clear as Malaysian citizens who dared to criticise the outcome have been investigated and/or charged under the country’s draconian Sedition Act.
Many see Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction as the beginning of an intense crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly in the country. The crackdown, which is ongoing, has even extended to social media. Numerous police investigations have been triggered over social media postings that are perceived to be critical of the government.
As believers in the right to the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly, we call on the government of Malaysia to uphold the rule of law, and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens.
We also note with great concern Anwar Ibrahim’s deteriorating health, and the difficulties he has faced in receiving proper treatment. Anwar Ibrahim’s treatment in prison is indicative of wider problems within the Malaysian prison system.
We strongly urge the Malaysian government that touts itself as a democratic country to immediately and unconditionally release Anwar Ibrahim from prison and uphold the principles of democracy.
John L Esposito
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
University of London
University of Maryland
Emad El-Din Shahin
University of Westminster
Saad Eddin Ibrahim
University of Toronto
University of Bristol
University of Johannesburg
Harry L. Roque
Center for International Law Philippines
Augusto N. Miclat Jr.
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Herherson “Sonny” T. Alvarez
Ricardo G. Recto
Luziminda C. Ilagan
Silvestre Bello III
General Jose T. Almonte
Amado D. Valdez
Philippine Association of Law Schools
Fernando O. Peña
Ninoy Aquino Movement
Ferdinand S. Topacio
Jarius and Marisa Bondoc
Movement of Malaysia (ABIM)
Democrats in the Arab World
Center for Citizen’s