MEDIA RELEASE June 30, 2015
Legal Team Urges Immediate Transfer to House Arrest or Hospital
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s legal team reports that Anwar’s health is deteriorating as a result of not being provided access to treatments required to address his serious health conditions. 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. At the very minimum, even if the request for house arrest is denied, he must be hospitalised for a sufficiently long time to comprehensively deal with all his medical issues.
On June 2, 2015, after a four-week delay from when the prison requested his transfer to a hospital, he was evaluated by Kuala Lumpur Hospital in a three-day visit. The doctors reported to him orally that he requires further evaluation and treatment relating to a number of medical issues including irregular blood pressure, a 4 cm growth on his kidney – requiring a CT scan, gastritis – requiring a gluten-free diet, and a shoulder muscle tear and chronic arthritis – requiring intensive physiotherapy. Anwar has also lost 6 kg (13 pounds) since his initial detention. The prison says it has received no medical reports from the hospital requesting the further testing – and it has no facilities for any testing or treatment of these conditions.
Anwar is being held in solitary confinement in hot and humid conditions with minimal ventilation, which are exacerbating his health problems. In addition, he has received only rare family visits once in three weeks, despite a doctor recommending he be allowed to see his family weekly. Family members are denied physical contact with him and speak to him through a phone across a glass panel. Requested visits with counsel are limited to twice a week with much scrutiny of lawyer’s files and documents. Anwar is also being harassed by being checked every 15 minutes in his cell around the clock. Since his discharge from hospital about three weeks ago, he was visited once briefly in prison by a physiotherapist who provided some minimal manipulation therapy.
“The injustice being perpetrated against Anwar continues,” said Sivarasa Rasiah, Anwar’s counsel. “The international community should be alarmed by Anwar’s deteriorating health, which has been greatly exacerbated by his being denied access to required care and facilities while he has been wrongly detained,” he added.
Anwar’s detention was ordered by the Federal Court on February 10, 2015, after it affirmed a five-year sentence on fabricated sodomy charges. Amnesty International designated Anwar a prisoner of conscience on February 17, 2015, and said the court’s decision was a “deplorable judgment, and just the latest chapter in the Malaysian authorities’ relentless attempts to silence government critics.” And Human Rights Watch said the Federal Court decision was a “travesty of justice.”
Anwar is in fact imprisoned because he presents a democratic and non-violent threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak. This is the second time Anwar has been subjected to a politicallymotivated prosecution under the same government. And it takes place in the context of numerous opposition leaders, journalists, and activists, including Anwar’s daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar MP, having been arrested, charged, and or detained under the country’s draconian Sedition Act and other oppressive laws.