Despite failing in his final attempt to reverse his sodomy conviction and five-year prison sentence, PKR politician Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim maintained that there was still hope in his bid for freedom.
Continuing to insist on his innocence, Anwar said he will confer with his lawyers on how best to proceed.
“This is not the end of the road. I have pleaded and reiterated my complete innocence,” he told reporters from the dock immediately after the Federal Court’s decision today.
“I will discuss with my lawyers to study options through the legal process again and other measures,” he said, adding that his lawyers will reveal the next step to be taken soon.
“It’s not the end; it’s a long road. Like a long walk to freedom,” he later added.
“I cannot say that I was completely optimistic of the outcome. We prayed for a good outcome. We prayed for justice to prevail,” he said when commenting on today’s decision.
Chief Judge of the High Court of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin chaired the five-man panel that unanimously rejected Anwar’s bid as having “no merits”.
The other judges on the panel are Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, Tan Sri Hasan Lah, Tan Sri Abu Samah Nordin, Tan Sri Zaharah Ibrahim.
Anwar had on April 30, 2015 filed an application seeking a review by the Federal Court of a decision by another panel, arguing that it was necessary to prevent injustice and that his conviction was objectively unsafe.
In a court document, Anwar had highlighted a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office that was issued minutes after his conviction and before even his lawyers could mitigate, claiming this suggested that he did not receive a fair and independent hearing.
Anwar had also singled out the conduct of lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah after the Federal Court’s February 10 decision, saying that the latter had verbally attacked him while purportedly explaining the case in an Umno-linked roadshow.
Anwar had asked the Federal Court to either set aside his conviction and sentencing by the Court of Appeal or have the Federal Court rehear his appeal.
On February 10, 2015, the Federal Court upheld an earlier 2014 ruling by the Court of Appeal for the conviction and five-year jail term of Anwar over the sodomy of his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
Prisoners in Malaysia are typically allowed a remittance of their jail terms, where one-third of their jail term is taken off and they are given early release.
This would mean that Anwar ― who has already spent around one year and ten months in jail ― could walk out of prison in 2018, instead of having to serve the entire five-year jail term until 2020.
Anwar has also filed an appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s decision to deny him leave to challenge the Pardons Board’s refusal to grant him royal pardon, with the appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal scheduled for January 18.
N. Surendran, one of the lawyers representing Anwar, said the legal team will study the Federal Court’s decision today.
“He does not accept the decision, his family does not accept the decision. We are taking a copy of the judgment shortly and we will study the judgment and we will announce our next course of action as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, noted that an appeal has been made in the bid for a pardon on the grounds that there was a “miscarriage of justice”, adding that all means will be used to secure his release.
“Today’s decision is disappointing but that doesn’t mean we don’t have other alternatives. The family and the PKR leadership as well as Pakatan will use all methods,” the PKR vice-president told reporters.
“We are proud to fight for justice,” she said, later adding: “Whatever it maybe. Justice will be served.”
Source : IDA LIM AND KAMLES KUMAR @ The Malay Mail Online