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PUBLISHED: Oct 31, 2014 2:23pm

International observers call Anwar’s appeal hearing fair so far

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G. Surach

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed that all the prosecution had done so far was put out juicy bits for TV3 and Utusan Malaysia to highlight and cover. — TRP pic by Azrol Ali

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PUTRAJAYA, Oct 31, 2014:

International observers have stated that the current appeal by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on his sodomy 2 conviction is going smoothly so far.

According to Union of Civil Liberties senior adviser Danthong Breen, the ongoing hearing has been fair on both sides.

“This is a great example of the trial as it is not often that the courts have given both sides all the time to present their submissions.

“I have attended the previous trials at the High Court and the Court of Appeal and each time the evidence was expanded and given more in detail,” he said when met outside the court at the Palace of Justice here today.

However Breen said while that factor adds greater value for the whole legal system but his doubts on the case have increased.

“When you have the two arguments presented by both sides, there are doubts about the fact of guilt and also doubts about innocence.

“But that is all that is needed for acquittal,” he said.

When asked about where the case is heading, Breen said that it cannot be a decision made between guilt and innocence.

“(Anwar) should be guilty but with reasonable doubt.

“But reasonable doubt has been proven and therefore innocence or full guilt will never be proven fully either,” he said adding that is enough for a case acquittal.

Meanwhile International Commission of Jurists Elizabeth Evatt said that there is no unduly interference in the whole hearing so far.

“Our principle concern is on the application of the sodomy law.

“We believe that the law being used is this case is totally incompatible within international human rights principles as they are both discriminatory and violation  of personal privacy,” she said.

Evatt also expressed concern that while the original judge in the case found a doubt and therefore acquitted Anwar, the comments by the Court of Appeal seems to suggest that they regarded that the burden of proof being upon the accused.

“This is contrary to the presumption of innocence.

“We very much hope that the Federal Court will deal with this appropriately,” she said.

Lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that so far he has only completed 20% to 30% of his submission.

“There are plenty of facts to be covered meticulously and this therefore will take time,” he said.

Muhammad Shafee said the hearing is going to continue on Monday for half the day followed by a full session on Tuesday.

When met outside the court Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that the prosecution so far has failed to answer issues raised by the counsel.

“My understanding of the legal practice is that he (Shafee) should answer issues raised by defence counsel.

“What he has done is simply putting the juicy parts for TV3 and Utusan (Malaysia) to highlight and cover,” he said.



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