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Global call for the release of Anwar Ibrahim

We the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Anwar Ibrahim, and condemn the politically motivated charges that led to his five-year prison sentence.

10 August 2015, marks Anwar Ibrahim’s 68th birthday and his 182nd day as a prisoner of conscience.

Prior to his imprisonment, Anwar Ibrahim was the Leader of Malaysia’s emerging Opposition, and a prominent moderate Muslim leader who dedicated his political life to defend democracy, uphold the rule of law and sought social justice for all.

Anwar Ibrahim’s trial took place after he led the opposition coalition to an unprecedented electoral victory in Malaysia’s general elections in 2013, winning 51% of the popular vote. Many believe that this blow to the incumbent government’s power prompted Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction and imprisonment.

AnwarThe trial that eventually led to Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction was seen as biased and unfair by the independent observers who attended the proceedings.

The unfair trial, coupled with the political motivations behind it led Amnesty International to declare Anwar Ibrahim a prisoner of conscience.

As supporters of an independent and fair judicial system, we condemn such politically motivated convictions that serve those in power.

The political machinations behind Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction are clear as Malaysian citizens who dared to criticise the outcome have been investigated and/or charged under the country’s draconian Sedition Act.

Many see Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction as the beginning of an intense crackdown on freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly in the country.

The crackdown, which is ongoing, has even extended to social media. Numerous police investigations have been triggered over social media postings that are perceived to be critical of the government.

As believers in the right to the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly, we call on the government of Malaysia to uphold the rule of law, and to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of its citizens.

We also note with great concern Anwar Ibrahim’s deteriorating health, and the difficulties he has faced in receiving proper treatment. Anwar Ibrahim’s treatment in prison is indicative of wider problems within the Malaysian prison system. We strongly urge the Malaysian government that touts itself as democratic country to immediately and unconditionally release Anwar Ibrahim from prison and uphold the principles of democracy.

John L Esposito
Georgetown University

Tariq Ramadan
Oxford University

Richard Falk
Princeton University

Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Slavoj Žižek
University of London

Alfred Stepan
Colombia University

Francis Fukuyama
Stanford University

Larry Diamond
Stanford University

Nader Hashemi
Denver University

Avi Shlaim
Oxford University

Shahrough Akhavi
Columbia University

Charles Butterworth
University of Maryland

Louay Safi
Georgetown University

Emad El-Din Shahin
Georgetown University

Abdelwahab El-Affendi
University of Westminster

Saad Eddin Ibrahim
Egyptian Activist

Mohammad Fadel
University of Toronto

Ziauddin Sardar
Muslim Institute

Karen Armstrong
Author

Tariq Modood
University of Bristol

Farid Esack
University of Johannesburg

Christos Giannou
War Surgeon

James Reardon-Anderson
Georgetown University

Tamara Sonn
Georgetown University

Mohsen Kadivar
Duke University

Harry L. Roque
Center for International Law Philippines

Augusto N. Miclat Jr.
Initiatives for International Dialogue
Philippines

Herherson “Sonny” T. Alvarez
Phillipines Politician

Ricardo G. Recto
Philippines Politician

Luziminda C. Ilagan
Philippines Politician

Silvestre Bello III
Philippines Politician

General Jose T. Almonte
Philippines

Amado D. Valdez
Philippine Association of Law Schools

Fernando O. Peña
Ninoy Aquino Movement

Ferdinand S. Topacio
Lawyer Philippines

Margoux Salcedo
Philippines Journalist

Jarius and Marisa Bondoc
Columnist Philippines

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