Malaysia promises fair trial for opposition leader
NY Times, Liz Gooch
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian government pledged Tuesday that the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim would receive a fair trial on sodomy charges, a nod to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's call for the case to be conducted transparently.
Mr. Anwar, who faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomizing a former political aide, has repeatedly called the trial a government conspiracy intended to end his political career, a claim denied by the government.
At a joint news conference with Mrs. Clinton, who is on the Malaysian leg of her seven-nation Asia-Pacific tour, Anifah Aman, the Malaysian foreign minister, said that Mr. Anwar would receive a “fair and open trial.”
“It is in my interest and in our interest to make sure that Anwar gets a fair trial,” Mr. Anifah said. “Because if there is such a thing as a political persecution, if it can happen to Anwar, it can happen to the rest of us.”
Mrs. Clinton — who had just come from Cambodia, where she called for the continuation of trials against surviving members of the Khmer Rouge-- said she had raised the issue with Malaysian officials.
“It is well known that the United States believes it is important for all aspects of the case to be conducted fairly and transparently and in a way that increases confidence in the rule of law in Malaysia, "Mrs. Clinton said, adding that American officials had been in regular contact with Mr. Anwar.
In an earlier case, Mr. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was convicted of abuse of power and sodomy in trials in 1999 and 2000. Although the sodomy conviction was later overturned, he spent six years in prison.
On other issues, Mrs. Clinton said the United States “wholeheartedly endorses” Prime Minister Najib Razak’s call for a “global movement of moderates” to combat extremism. She said that both countries had a strong interest in promoting religious moderation.
Mr. Najib had called for a movement from all faiths to marginalize extremists during a speech in September at the United Nations General Assembly.
“Extremism is not a path to building sustainable prosperity, peace, stability or democracy,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It only promotes conflicts and hardens hearts.”
Mrs. Clinton was unable to meet with Mr. Najib, who is ill, but said she had spoken to him by telephone. She met other Malaysian government leaders to discuss bilateral relations and security issues.
Mrs. Clinton praised Malaysia’s decision to enact legislation intended to help combat nuclear proliferation.
“With the passage of the Strategic Trade Act, Malaysia now has powerful new tools for preventing proliferation by making it easier to stop shipments of nuclear fuel, weapons parts and other equipment — especially to states that are flouting their international obligations, such as Iran and North Korea,” she said. “Implementing the act quickly and effectively will deny nuclear proliferators the opportunity to use Malaysian territory to further their goals.”
She also praised Malaysia’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan, highlighting the country’s recent deployment of medical personnel.
Mrs. Clinton said she would sign three agreements during her stay in Malaysia, covering collaboration on research and development of new technology; a partnership between the Malaysian government and Johns Hopkins University to build a medical school and teaching hospital; and the sale of Pratt & Whitney airplane engines to Malaysia Airlines.
|Powered by Sigsiu.NET|