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Monday, January 9, 2017

Stop jailing opposition leaders, Anwar tells government

Former opposition leader uses courtroom break to speak to supporters, praising Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as the 'best CM' in the country.
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GEORGE TOWN: Stop the injustice of turning opposition members into political prisoners, former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told a crowded courtroom of supporters during a break in his defamation suit at the Penang High Court here today.
Anwar, who was also once a deputy prime minister, said the people must not allow DAP’s Lim Guan Eng and PKR’s Rafizi Ramli to become “political prisoners” like him.
“I support Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. He is the best CM in the country. Do not let him go to jail.
“So is Rafizi. Please do not let him go to jail. Enough of this injustice,” Anwar told supporters in the courtroom.
Lim, who was present, smiled as he heard Anwar’s comment. Lim is being tried for corruption.
Rafizi meanwhile has been sentenced to 18 months’ jail over two charges of leaking a classified 1Malaysia Development Berhad audit report under the Official Secrets Act. Rafizi is appealing the sentence.
A police officer with the rank of superintendent, later interrupted Anwar and told reporters and others “not to ask questions” unrelated to the court case.
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The officer then ordered the elite Rapid Action Troops (TTC) and prison guards to surround Anwar. The TTC is a squad under the Prisons Department, trained by the military, to deal with uncooperative and violent inmates.
Some 15 guards formed a barricade around Anwar, preventing him from making eye contact with those trying to speak to him.
This however did not stop Anwar from continuing his speech.
“It is your duty as Malaysians to ask questions. Do not let anyone stop you. In court, police or prison guards cannot issue instructions.
“Only the judge or the court registrar can make such a call. It is the law,” he said, continuing to speak to his supporters as the guards looked on.
Anwar was also asked why he had shed so much weight.
“Less food, that’s why. This is thanks to prison food. I miss the nasi kandar, pasemboq (sic), ya allah!”
When asked by reporters how he was treated in prison, Anwar said: “They are tougher against me … more harassment.”
Anwar, despite appearing frail, was in high spirits, smiling and shaking hands with those in the gallery before leaving the courtroom.
He was ushered into a MPV led by a 10-car motorcade from the Prisons Department.
It is learnt that Anwar will spend the night at the Jawi Prison before being transported to the Sungai Buloh Prison tomorrow morning. -FMT

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