Posted: 17 Jul 2016 02:13 AM PDT
Today marks day 523 of Anwar Ibrahim's imprisonment as a political prisoner.
Newest addition Anwar's family
On the 4th of June, Nurul Nuha, Anwar's second daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Although it gave great joy to hear the news of his 8th grandchild, this would be the second time being blessed a grandchild since being separated from his family more than a year ago.
National Security Council bill
On the 7th of June the controversial National Security Council (NSC) bill was gazetted as legislation. The bill was initially passed last December but needed Royal Assent by the King before it becomes law. However in a surprising move the King requested amendments to the law that provides sweeping power to the Prime Minister and members of the security council to declare "Security Zones" which would accord authorities wide powers of arrest, search and seizure without a warrant. This has caused serious concerns among opposition leaders and human rights activist given the track record on human rights violations by the government. The bill automatically becomes gazetted even without Royal Assent after 30 days of presenting it to the King.
Anwar continues to be hospitalized
On the 15th of June Anwar was again transferred to the General Hospital of Kuala Lumpur for health checkup on his irregular blood pressure and recurring back and shoulder pain. He was admitted for 5 days where he underwent medical testing and treatment. Following the transfer, Nurul Izzah, daughter of Anwar issued a statement lamenting the inadequate medical care on Anwar. Nurul Izzah questioned "..if the number of treatments given failed to improve his health, can they be considered adequate?“.
She renewed calls for Anwar to be allowed to travel overseas for medical intervention and treatment, especially on the shoulder surgery that Anwar requires to alleviate the pain on his shoulder.
Lead prosecutor against Anwar appointed as human rights ambassador
Well known lawyer of the ruling party UMNO Shafee Abdullahwho contreversially lead the prosecution team against Anwar at the Court of Appeal and Federal Court level was appointed by the Foreign Ministry as Malaysia's ambassador at large for Human Rights.
The announcement was met by criticism over the obvious attempt by the government to mislead especially the international community over their commitment to human rights. Human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM) Executive Director Sevan Doraisamy in the statement said "..(it) makes it clear that the government has little to no interest in fulfilling its obligations to defend human rights".
Shafee Abdullah is the same lawyer that was recorded in court to be in the house of the Prime Minister Najib Razak while Saiful Bukhari, the accuser in Anwar's case, was meeting Najib Razak to seek for "scholarship" just days before allegation against Anwar was raised. Anwar’s defense team has used this as a foundation that a political conspiracy exists.
This clear conflict raised many doubts regarding the integrity of the proceeding as Shafee Abdullah was later appointed special prosecuter to lead the case despite having many capable senior prosecuters at the Attorney General's Chambers office.
500 days of prison
On the 23rd of June another sad milestone was passed as it marks 500 days of imprisonment for Anwar. Friends and family gathered at the residence of Anwar for an event to commemorate the milestone, breaking Ramadan fast together followed by Ramadan night prayers.
That’s all for June’s update. I end this email with a short message from Anwar wishing all his fellow friends and supporters Eid Mubarak. Thank you for your support and as always do keep in touch.
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