Decision on Anwar’s appeal
to be delivered on Friday
Anwar Ibrahim’s solicitor,
Sankara Nair, has received a facsimile message from the Kuala Lumpur Appeal Court that the decision on Anwar’s appeal against his sodomy conviction
and nine-year jail sentence will be delivered at on Friday, 18 April 2003.
The appeal, which started on
24 March, adjourned on 10 April with the court reserving its judgment.
Most, including Anwar himself,
expected the court to take at least two or three months to come
back with its decision. This “sudden” move is therefore quite a
surprise as it means the court has more or less made up its mind
even as the hearing was still ongoing. Whether this is good news,
or the reverse, is left to be seen. But we do not have long to wait
Tomorrow night, there will
be special prayers (Solat Hajat) at Anwar’s house and moves are
being made to mobilise a crowd outside the court this Friday as
a mark of support and to show Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad that, contrary to what he thinks, Anwar is still relevant.
From lunchtime today, SMS messages
were being sent to all and sundry urging them to assemble in front
of the court on Friday morning. As can be expected, the police would
probably cordon the vicinity surrounding the court and may even
refuse to allow anyone through.
Supporters have been told to
come to court early, preferably before dawn, to ensure they are
not turned back - unless the police set up roadblocks the night
before like it did during the previous trials.
Many Malaysians no longer have
any confidence in the judicial system and this speedy decision,
if it results in an upheld conviction, will only enhance the belief
that the judges have been summoned to Putra Jaya and have been instructed
on what to do.
Clearly the trial judge who
convicted Anwar and sentenced him to an unusually excessive jail
term violated the law on many counts and no “normal” court could
uphold the conviction. Instead, the judge should be brought up before
a tribunal, including the Attorney-General and Chief Prosecutor
who used blackmail and threats of the death sentence to coerce witnesses
to fabricate evidence against Anwar.