PUBLISHED: Nov 5, 2014 12:35pm
UPDATED: Nov 5, 2014 12:35pm
Andrea Giorgettia, head of the International Federation for Human Rights Asia described Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s trial as a political act disguised as a legal procedure.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 5, 2014:
The United Nation’s human rights division has received reports of more than 20 people being charged or investigated under the Sedition Act 1948.
Quoting Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN’s human rights division, news.vice.com said her office had received the reports which include civil society members, journalists and lawyers.
“We are concerned that the authorities in Malaysia are arbitrarily applying the Sedition Act to silence critical voices,” Shamdasani said.
In its report, “Politics Permeate Malaysian Opposition Leader’s Sodomy Trial” the international news organisation said the future of Malaysian politics could hinge on a bottle of lube, referring to the ongoing sodomy trial of Opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Andrea Giorgettia, head of the International Federation for Human Rights Asia described the trial as a political act disguised as a legal procedure.
“Signs of direct political interference and involvement are everywhere. It’s clear that the ruling coalition wants to remove Anwar from politics, one way or another,” Giorgettia told news.vice.com
According to Shamdasani, the use of criminal law to prosecute individuals for engaging in consensual same sex violated a host of human rights guaranteed by international law.
“What’s important is not his (Anwar) sexuality, but how his sexuality has been used to make the broad suggestion that the reform movement is linked to deviancy,” Prof. Pheng Cheah, Malaysian-born chair of University of California, Berkeley’s Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, told new.vice.com.
“The association is between deviant sexuality and the disintegration of society. One could speculate that a guilty verdict is actually against the government’s interests.In many ways, the current government is extremely sympathetic to overseas liberal business interests — it wants foreign investment and the liberalisation of the trade agenda. A guilty verdict would be a public relations disaster.”
Many in Malaysia believe such a verdict is already in the books. But jailing Anwar for the second time could embolden his party, says Cheah.
“It would be interesting to see if Anwar is imprisoned, whether he will be considered a martyr,” Cheah said. “Not in the sense that he died, but that he was victimised and suffered.”