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29 NOV 2000




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Inter-Parliamentary Union passes a Resolution on Anwar Ibrahim

The Inter-Parliamentary Union based in Geneva, Switzerland, has passed a Resolution expressing its concerns about Anwar Ibrahim's trials and treatment.

In a facsimile message received by FAC News on 5 January 2001, the Resolution was passed at the 167th session in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 21 October 2000. 

(The full text of the three-page Resolution can be viewed here).

Among some of the points raised in the Resolution are:

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is alarmed at the sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim and Sukma Darmawan to nine and six years imprisonment respectively in view that the statements of witnesses were coerced.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union reaffirms that the ill treatment of Anwar Ibrahim while he was in police custody lends credence to the allegations of coercion of witnesses' statements.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union reiterates its fear that the motives for Anwar Ibrahimís prosecution on both the corruption and the sodomy charges were not of a legal nature and that his case was built on a presumption of guilt.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union remains concerned at the conclusion of Kuala Lumpur General Hospital that Anwar Ibrahimís state of health has considerably worsened in detention, and call on the authorities to release him pending appeal against the judgments handed down on him.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union is appalled at the sedition charges brought against Karpal Singh and the three-month prison sentence against Zainur Zakaria, which was upheld on 5 September 2000 by the Court of Appeal.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union requests the Secretary General to convey this decision to the appropriate Malaysian authorities.

The Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union requests the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians to continue examining Anwar's case and report to it at its next session in April 2001.

This is yet another blow for Dr Mahathir's International image.

On 18 December 2000, United States Congressman, Christopher H. Smith, the Chairman, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, sent a letter to FAC News asking for an official statement from Dr Mahathir on his statement that the seven US Congressmen supporting a Resolution on Anwar Ibrahim "should not be Congressmen" and that "they are not fit to become Congressmen in the most powerful country in the world".

(The full text of Christopher H Smith's letter can be viewed here).

Dr Mahathir is yet to comment on the matter, issue a retraction of his statement, or make an apology to the seven US Congressmen.

Mr Smith added, "In addition to concerns about the irregularities during Dato Seri Anwar's trial, the possible political motivations behind the charges levied against him, and a number of other actions of the Malaysian authorities discussed in detail in the resolution, I now have grave concerns about recent reports that Anwar's health is deteriorating rapidly and that he may not be receiving proper medical treatment."

Mr Smith hoped the Malaysian government will address the serious human rights concerns expressed in the resolution as quickly as possible.

Mr Smith promised, "If not, I will pursue the matter vigorously in the 107th Congress."

The 107th Congress is due to meet in a month or two and it is expected that the Anwar Ibrahim Resolution will be pushed through thereby putting more International pressure on Dr Mahathir.

In the House of Representatives Resolution tabled on 27 October 2000, it asked that:

1. The Government of Malaysia should provide Dato Seri Anwar with due process of law either by offering him a new trial under fair and transparent procedures or by dismissing all charges against him.

2. All Malaysians should be allowed to exercise their fundamental right to peaceful expression of political opinion, without fear of arrest or intimidation, and should be afforded due process of law in all cases.

(The full text of the House of Representatives Resolution H. RES. 658 can be viewed here).

Raja Petra Kamarudin


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