Hundreds of people gathered outside the Federal Court this morning as Anwar Ibrahim makes his final bid for freedom today.
The former Opposition leader’s application to set aside his sodomy conviction will be heard today before Chief Judge of Malaya Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, who is leading a five-man Federal Court bench.
The others in the panel are Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum, Hasan Lah, Abu Samah Nordin and Zaharah Ibrahim.
This was the same panel that rejected an application on May 23 this year to call former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Ramli Yusof to give additional evidence in Anwar’s matter.
The defence is now likely to object to the composition of the panel.
Last week Latheefa Koya, a member in Anwar’s legal team, had written to the Federal Court to exclude 13 judges in the apex court who had heard the appeal and other matters in relation to the sexual misconduct case.
Meanwhile, police have sealed off all entrances to the court as supporters held banners and placards calling for his release.
Anwar, who is serving his five-year jail sentence after the same court upheld his sodomy conviction on February 10 last year, is seeking to set aside the judgment by Chief Justice Arifin Zakaria, which found him guilty of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar’s defence team is led by former Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram, and also includes Sangeet Kaur, N Surendran, Sivarasa Rasiah, Latheefa Koya, Melissa Sasidaran and Shahid Adli Kamaruddin.
His lawyers are expected to invoke Rule 137 of the Rules of the Federal Court 1995 to review the decision of the five-member panel, and to be allowed to re-hear his appeal.
Earlier, several PKR leaders were seen addressing Anwar’s supporters who had gathered here as early as 7.30am.
Batu MP Tian Chua, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli and PKR Wanita Chief Zuraida Kamaruddin were spotted standing on a platform, addressing the crowd with chants of “bebas Anwar” (free Anwar), “keadilan” (justice) and “tangkap Najib”, referring to Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Controversial blogger Syarul Ema Rena Abu Samah also made a surprise appearance here and addressed the crowd with a brief speech after being invited by Zuraida.
Syarul, better known as Ratu Naga, made an emotional apology to Anwar’s family and PKR for her past actions as a pro-Barisan Nasional (BN) blogger.
“I was one of the best ‘players’ in BN before and what I’ve done has led to today.
“After what has happened to me recently, I’m stepping forward to apologise to every PKR member and Anwar’s family for my past sins,” Syarul said.
PKR Supreme Council member Fariz Musa also made an appearance here today despite being wheelchair-bound after his left leg had to be amputated due to complications from diabetes.
Meanwhile, a separate crowd of 50 gathered to show solidarity with Saiful.
The group, who called themselves “Justice for Saiful”, had made their way here at about 10am.
Their leader Salleh Ismail, in an emotional speech, led the crowd to chant”mati Anwar” (death to Anwar) and “mati PKR” (death to PKR), while some people were seen carrying placards which called out for “Justice for Saiful”.
FMT Reporters Online