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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Anwar’s health worsens, requires house arrest, says lawyers

Former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has lost 6kg since being imprisoned and needs medical care. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 30, 2015.Former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has lost 6kg since being imprisoned and needs medical care. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, June 30, 2015.
Former opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's health has taken a turn for the worse while in prison and his lawyers say he must be transferred immediately to house arrest with access to regular medical care.
Anwar has lost 6kg since the start of his jail sentence for sodomy in February, his lawyer R. Sivarasa said, and also has irregular blood pressure, a 4cm growth on the kidney, gastritis, chronic arthritis and a shoulder muscle tear.
These conditions require intensive physiotherapy, a CT scan for the growth and a gluten-free diet for the gastritis.
"It is urgent that he be transferred immediately to house arrest where he can be permitted to visit his own doctors for regular medical care and treatment," the PKR lawyer said.
Anwar began a five-year prison sentence on February 10, when the Federal Court quashed his appeal and upheld his conviction for sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
His worsening health was revealed in a medical evaluation at Kuala Lumpur Hospital in a two-day visit earlier this month.
Sivarasa, in the joint statement with lawyer Jared Genser of the Freedom Now organisation that advocates for prisoners of conscience worldwide, said Anwar's prison conditions made his health problems worse.
"Anwar is being held in solitary confinement in a bare cell, having a bucket for bathing, a squat toilet, and being held in hot and humid conditions with minimal ventilation. These are exacerbating his health problems.
"In addition, he has received only rare family visits, despite a doctor recommending he be allowed to see his family weekly. Requested visits with counsel are often denied," Sivarasa said, adding that such conditions were a continued injustice.
Anwar and his lawyer maintained that the sodomy charges and conviction were a political conspiracy to end his political career and Sivarasa reiterated those claims today.
Amnesty International has designated the former opposition leader a prisoner of conscience, calling the court's judgment against him an attempt to silence government critics.
Anwar had faced a first round of sodomy charges and conviction after he was sacked from government as deputy prime minister in 1998.
- TMI

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