Human Rights Watch want Malaysia to repeal sodomy laws
Following the Malaysian Government’s attempt to appeal the acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy charges, global human rights group, Human Rights Watch is calling on the Malaysian government to repeal the country’s colonial era sodomy laws.
Today the Malaysia’s Court of Appeal in Kuala Lumpur will hear the government’s appeal of the January 2012 verdict which acquitted Ibrahim of having consensual sexual relations with his aide.
It’s not the first time the government has attempted to prosecute Ibrahim. In 2004 it also pursued charges against Ibrahim for breaking the country’s anti sodomy law.
Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said the appeal was compounding the injustices already inflicted upon Ibrahim and his family and suggested the law was long overdue for an overhaul.
“The best way to ensure this kind of politically motivated persecution doesn’t happen again is for the government to abolish the hateful law on which it’s based.”
If Ibrahim loses the appeal, he faces a whipping and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. He would also have to give up his seat in parliament and would be banned from holding political office or standing for election for five years.
“Anwar never should have been charged in the first place because consensual sexual relations between adults should never be criminalized,’ said Robertson. “Malaysia should fulfill its obligations as a member of the Human Rights Council and bring its rights practices into compliance with international standards.”
According to reports on Pink News, Ibrahim’s case will be observed by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) who are concerned the judicial process is being used to harass the political candidate.
Elizabeth Evatt (Former Australian Federal Court judge) will watch the appeal hearing on behalf of the ICJ.