[Photo credit: Oslo Freedom Forum]
Jailed Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim Receives a Royal Pardon
May 16, 2018
On May 16, Anwar Ibrahim - a former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Malaysia - was granted a full pardon by Malaysia’s King, freeing him from serving the remainder of his current five-year prison sentence and expunging all past convictions from his record.
From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Anwar was imprisoned on what were widely perceived to be politically motivated charges of sodomy and corruption brought to remove him from political life and discredit him publicly. The sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004, but further sodomy charges were brought against Mr. Anwar in 2008. Despite a lack of credible evidence, Mr. Anwar was convicted of the charges in a trial widely criticized for failing to meet international fair trial standards. In February 2015, after his conviction was upheld on appeal, he was taken into custody.
Mr. Anwar served three years of his latest sentence in Sungai Buloh Prison. Due to his harsh conditions of confinement and lack of access to necessary medical care, his health deteriorated during his imprisonment. Mr. Anwar spent the last few months in a rehabilitation hospital recovering from an operation on his shoulder.
Mr. Anwar’s release coincides with the surprise victory of his party’s opposition alliance in the May 2018 general elections in Malaysia. The royal pardon now makes him eligible to once again participate in politics. It is expected that Mr. Anwar will run for Parliament in the coming months.