Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Christoph Strässer, issued the following statement on 10 February on the sentencing of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in prison for the accusation of homosexuality:
I was deeply shocked to hear of today’s verdict against Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. I followed the criminal proceeding against Anwar Ibrahim, whom I know personally. The trial and verdict raise serious questions on the protection of human rights, the independence of the judicial system, due process and democratic development in Malaysia.
The selective prosecution of members of the opposition has a detrimental effect on social development in Malaysia and on the country’s international reputation.
Moreover, the verdict on the grounds of alleged homosexual acts violates international Human Rights standards: No one may be persecuted because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
On 10 February 2015, Malaysia’s top court upheld the verdict against former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for homosexuality. Anwar Ibrahim founded the opposition movement Reformasi in 1998. He later founded the opposition party People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat), which he leads to this day. Since joining the opposition, legally questionable criminal proceedings have been brought against him. In 1999, he was accused of corruption and sodomy, for which he was sentenced to prison terms of six and nine years respectively. These verdicts were partially overturned in 2004.