KUALA LUMPUR, AUG 10: A lawyers group today urged the government to place former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim under house arrest, citing Anwar’s health issue as the reason.
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) executive director Eric Paulsen in a statement said medical treatment for Anwar, who is suffering from kidney problems, arthritis, and a chronic shoulder injury, has been delayed since the latter was imprisoned in Sungai Buloh prison on February 10.
“Let us be clear, Anwar is a prisoner of conscience and he deserves better treatment than what he is receiving in prison.
“It is quite shocking and deplorable how the authorities seem bent on making life as difficult as possible for Anwar and his family members by applying the prison rules in the most rigid and overzealous manner when there is wide discretion for a more humane and civilised approach,” said Paulsen in a statement.
Paulsen also said that since Anwar is confined in a “solitary” cell, the lack of prompt medical attention further aggravates Anwar’s injuries. Even though Anwar was hospitalised due to his condition, Eric stated that all the medical procedures were rushed through in order to bring back Anwar to the prison at the earliest opportunity available.
The former deputy prime minister was sentenced to five years in jail for sodomy after a Federal Court upheld a 2014 Court of Appeals decision to overturn his 2012 High Court acquittal.
As a result of the conviction, Anwar lost his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat, but was later won by his wife and now PKR leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
The sentence drew national criticism, particularly from the opposition. Anwar and opposition insisted that the charges were a political plot to end his career.
This is the second time Anwar was being charged by sodomy, with the first one in 1998 while he was sacked by the government.