After sedition charges against counsel, Anwar fears Sodomy II appeal ‘compromised’

Lawyer N. Surendran (right) was charged with sedition for questioning the Court of Appeal's ruling on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's second sodomy trial, August 19, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Lawyer N. Surendran (right) was charged with sedition for questioning the Court of Appeal's ruling on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's second sodomy trial, August 19, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed today that the government’s sedition charges against his lawyer N. Surendran over the latter’s criticism of his Sodomy II conviction would jeopardise his defence when the matter is called up for appeal next month.

The Opposition leader said that his appeal, which is to be heard by the Federal Court on October 28 and 29 has been “seriously affected” following Surendran’s “persecution” by the government.

In a statement here, Anwar pointed out the sedition charges against his lawyer were related to matters concerning his legal defence in the appeal.

“The first relates to criticism of the judgment of the Court of Appeal convicting me. This criticism comprises arguments which will be raised by my lawyers in the appeal,” Anwar said today.

“The second relates to Surendran’s suggesting to the media after attending case management on my behalf that there is a conspiracy in the charges against me.

“Again, this conspiracy allegation is one of my key defences in court in the charge against me,” he explained further.

The Permatang Pauh MP accused the government of using the judiciary, police and the Attorney-General to end his political career by putting him behind bars.

“How can it be a crime for my duly appointed counsel to state my legal defence?” Anwar asked, referring to PKR vice-president Surendran’s allegedly seditious remarks.

Anwar said he now fears his appeal will be compromised and grossly unfair, claiming the charges had confirmed that the government is determined to imprison him at all costs.

Surendran is now facing a second sedition charge for claiming a political conspiracy against his client, Anwar.

Before that, the lawyer was charged under Section 4 (1) (c) if the Sedition Act for criticising the appellate court’s ruling that overturned a lower court’s decision to discharge Anwar from his second sodomy rap.

He was accused of committing the offence in a news release titled “Court of Appeal’s Fitnah 2 Written Judgement is Flawed, Defensive & Insupportable”, that was issued to news portal Malaysiakini on April 18 this year.

The Federal Court is scheduled to hear on October 28 and 29 Anwar’s appeal against the Court of Appeal’s March 7 decision to overturn his Sodomy II acquittal by the High Court in 2012.

The appellate court found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan 26, at a unit of the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The Permatang Pauh MP was sentenced to five years’ jail but was granted a stay of execution pending an appeal to the Federal Court.