Malaysia: date set for release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Malaysia: date set for release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim” was written by Hannah Ellis-Petersen, for theguardian.com on Saturday 12th May 2018 17.27 Asia/Kolkata

Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia, is due to be released from prison on Tuesday, his daughter has said.

Ibrahim is serving a second prison sentence for sodomy, which many believe was politically motivated and the result of judicial pressure brought by the country’s ousted prime minister, Najib Razak.

The election this week of Mahathir Mohamad, which gave the opposition its first win in 61 years, has paved the way for Anwar to be given a full royal pardon.

Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, said the paperwork for the pardon was being processed on the grounds of a miscarriage of justice.

Mahathir, who at 92 is the world’s oldest leader, ran for election on the agreement that, if the opposition won he would secure a royal pardon for Anwar and then step aside to let him take over as prime minister.

Anwar’s release will mark another chapter in his colourful and fraught relationship with Mahatir.

When Mahathir first served as prime minister, between 1981 and 2003, Anwar was his protege and seen as his natural successor. In 1999, however, when it seemed he was getting too powerful, Mahathir had him jailed on sodomy charges.

Anwar was released from jail in 2004 and became a powerful figure in the opposition, running against Najib in the 2013 election. In 2015, however, he was reconvicted of sodomy in a case that human rights groups criticised as unjust and politically motivated.

The relationship between Anwar and Mahathir had remained bitter until this year, when in a bid to remove Najib, Mahathir joined the opposition to run as leader in the election. He is now making good on the promise making Anwar’s release among his first priorities as prime minister.

It is unclear how long Mahathir will remain prime minister after Anwar’s release. The opposition has said it will be two years before he hands over power, because Anwar will need to win a byelection first.

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Malaysia: date set for release of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).