MALAYSIAN Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim filed a new application to set aside his 2015 conviction for sodomy, claiming the key witness in the case committed perjury and his statement should be considered fraudulent.
According to Channel News Asia, Anwar’s legal team filed the writ action with the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday claiming that the main prosecution witness – his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan – gave perjured evidence “which to the knowledge of the defendant was false”.
Lawyer N Surendran told reporters at the court house that as the conviction was obtained through perjured testimony, the conviction was therefore obtained by fraud.
“Under section 44 of the Evidence Act, if you obtain a conviction by fraud or collusion, that conviction can be subsequently set aside. Anwar Ibrahim is an innocent man and in this action we are going to prove his innocence.”
No further details were provided by Surendran as to the nature of the fraudulent evidence, saying this would be revealed during the course of the trial.
Anwar was jailed in February 2015 after his appeal against an earlier 2014 sodomy conviction was rejected by the High Court.
There have been several attempts to free him via the courts and through appealing for a royal pardon, all of which have so far proven unsuccessful.
Anwar has long claimed that the charges against him are politically motivated as the conviction disqualifies him from political office.
With elections expected soon, the latest being 2018, Anwar’s wife and current opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told Channel News Asia she feels that the “forces that be” may not want the charismatic politician to be set free.
“Elections are just pending there is a chance that maybe the forces that be may not want him out but you have to try,” she says.
“And I think the rakyat and the people, the voters are hoping generally for some sort of direction. And Anwar- even though he’s here, his leadership is with us in spirit – we want him to be out and lead us . So I think this is all part of the hope and we all pray that it can be done and it can be one one of the things that can get Anwar out immediately.”