Anwar Ibrahim’s ally urges Aquino to defend democracy in Asia
BE a champion of democracy in Asia, a Malaysian human rights leader called on President Benigno Aquino III.
Tian Chua who made the call is a human rights leader and vice president of Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party.
He is in the Philippines, along with Nurul Izzah Anwar, daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, as part of their tour to lobby among leaders and friends to support call for the immediate release of Anwar so he can undergo medical treatment due to serious muscle tear in the right shoulder.
Early this year, Malaysia’s highest court has found Anwar guilty of sodomizing a former political aide.
International critics including the United States slammed the conviction, believing it is part of Malaysia’s crackdown against the opposition.
Recently, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found unanimously that Anwar is being held illegally and in violation of international law.
“For the longest time, especially when Anwar was leading the opposition coalition, our position has been that the government is abusing religious norms to politically persecute those who present the biggest challenge to the government. So, through the findings by the interparliamentary unit, world leaders including the UN, it proves, it really justifies our position that Anwar is really innocent, that he has been tried in a politically motivated exercise,” Nurul said.
Former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada joined the call for immediate release of Anwar, who he said, is a personal friend.
When asked if President Aquino has expressed support for their call, Tian said “we respect the President’s position on being a member of Asean and refrain from interfering with internal affairs of other country.”
“However, we believe the President shares a common experience with Nurul’s family. I think he definitely, privately sympathize with the family of Anwar Ibrahim and we were expecting that being President, he should be champion of democracy of this region,” Tian said.
“And being an outgoing President, we hope he could take out his courage to work towards giving reminder to Prime Minister Najib [Razak], his counterpart that Asean as a region must grow in advancing human rights. This is our greatest hope. I believe he has the humility and understanding to do the right thing. Our trip would not be in vain,” Tian said.
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