Americas / Oceania

U.S. to Malaysia: Anti-gay law’s political victim needs doctor

Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in 2011 (Photo courtesy of Human Rights Watch)

During his ongoing trip to the Far East, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the Malaysian prime minister about the politically motivated sodomy conviction and imprisonment of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The Washington Blade report (below) suggests that Kerry did not push hard for Anwar’s release, but only for him to receive needed medical care.

Kerry visits Malaysia, raises opposition leader’s sodomy conviction

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday [Aug. 6] during his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak raised the case of a leading opposition figure who is serving a five-year prison sentence after his conviction under the country’s anti-sodomy law.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2007 photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (2007 photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

State Department spokesperson Mark Toner on Wednesday told the Washington Blade during his daily press briefing that Kerry discussed former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s case with Najib while in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Toner said that Kerry requested that Anwar receive what he described as “much needed medical attention.”

“Secretary Kerry raised the issue of human rights in all of his meetings in Malaysia,” Toner told the Blade. “I also can confirm that he spoke with Prime Minister Najib. He did raise Anwar’s case.”

Malaysian authorities in 2008 accused Anwar of sodomizing an aide who worked for his opposition party.

The Malaysian High Court in 2012 acquitted the opposition leader, but prosecutors quickly re-filed the charges against him.

An appeals court in 2014 overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years in prison. The country’s highest court earlier this year upheld the opposition leader’s conviction.

The National Security Council and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights both criticized Anwar’s conviction. The opposition leader himself described the charges as “a fabrication coming from a political conspiracy to stop my political career.”

For more information, read the full Washington Blade article, “Kerry visits Malaysia, raises opposition leader’s sodomy conviction.”

 

 

5 thoughts on “U.S. to Malaysia: Anti-gay law’s political victim needs doctor

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