US-based human rights lawyer Kimberly Motley is hopeful of roping in former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to advocate for the immediate release of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Motley, who had just arrived from Afghanistan, told a press conference in Petaling Jaya that she was encouraged that Mahathir agreed to meet her tomorrow.
“I will be meeting Dr Mahathir to advocate and fight for Anwar’s release,” said Motley, who is Anwar’s international legal advisor.
“I understand that he’s very much same page with me as I am to call for Anwar’s immediate release. So, I’d like to discuss this with him as well,” she said.
During Mahathir’s 22-year tenure as prime minister, Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister and jailed over what the opposition leader claims were politically-motivated sodomy charges.
Motley said she also sought an appointment with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi tomorrow, to express her wish for Anwar to be released unconditionally.
“I would like to sit down and discuss with them about Anwar’s health concerns, his families’ concerns, and his unjust imprisonment.
“The reason that Anwar was at the hospital was due to an accident that occurred because of him in prison for something he should not be in prison for.
“The accident and the reason why he is in the hospital, the lack of rehabilitation he is allowed to participate in, is the responsibility of the government,” she added.
The lawyer noted, however, that neither Najib nor Zahid have agreed to meet her.
She also noted that since Najib was interested enough to visit Anwar in hospital after his surgery, the prime minister should be also be interested in the latter’s condition – referring to the claim that Anwar is not receiving the medical treatment he deserved.
Elaborating further, she said Anwar has not been undergoing full rehabilitation since his transfer to the Cheras Rehabilitation Centre, following his Nov 12 operation at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
According to Motley, “every day (Anwar is in jail) is a stain on the country’s human rights record.”
Anwar has served over 34 months in jail, and has another six months to go before his sentence is complete.
When asked about what else could be done to secure Anwar’s release, as all legal avenues had been exhausted save for clemency, Motley contended that that the prime minister still had several options.
One of these, she said, was for Najib to grant Anwar’s release so he can continue his medical treatment at home.
Motley, a graduate of the Marquette University Law School, has practised in US and Afghanistan, and has also conducted research on juvenile justice that has been reported on internationally.
She also helped to train hundreds of Afghan lawyers.
Last year, she worked with Anwar’s lawyers, with paperwork filed to allow her to represent the PKR de facto leader.
Meanwhile, Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Nuha Anwar, said that although her father is in pain, he has not been allowed to undergo a certain types of physiotherapy due to the restrictions imposed upon him.
“He is in pain and on humanitarian grounds, he should not be in prison,” she said.