Erap to visit Anwar
Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) - November 9, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada will visit his friend, former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who is incarcerated for sodomy in Malaysia.

Estrada has joined the call of Malaysian member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah Anwar to free her father.

“I will really visit him in Malaysia before the year ends,” Estrada said. “I hope that this time, I will be able to see him personally. I miss my friend so much.” 

It is high time for the Malaysian government to release Anwar, who was subjected to continuous injustice based on “politically motivated” trumped-up charges, Estrada said.

“I join the community of leaders worldwide in calling for the immediate release of my friend, former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.

“An icon of democracy, he is being held in detention illegally. It is a violation of international law and he is a victim of political injustice.”  The Malaysian government should show compassion to Anwar, Estrada said.

“I join the international community of leaders who recognize Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim as a respected world leader and proponent of democracy,” he said.

“I believe that Anwar Ibrahim has been a victim of political injustice, as has been the plight of many a great leader who fought for changes toward democracy for their country. The politically motivated imprisonment of Mr. Ibrahim is a travesty of justice and I join other world leaders in signing the international pledge supporting the call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Ibrahim from prison.”

The Malaysian government must also respect international law, Estrada said.

“Anwar needs immediate medical treatment,” he said.

“The Malaysian government should show compassion and respect to international law and allow Anwar Ibrahim to seek medical treatment that he needs. Free my good friend Anwar Ibrahim unconditionally.”

If his plan to visit Anwar in his detention cell pushes through, it will be Estrada’s third attempt to do so.

Businessman Fernando Peña said when Anwar was first imprisoned, Estrada, then president of the Philippines, asked to see Anwar in an ASEAN meeting held in Kuala Lumpur.

However, the meeting did not push through because authorities did not allow it.

The favor was returned when Anwar arrived in Manila for the 30th anniversary of martial law, Peña said.

“He sought to seek his friend, former President Joseph Estrada, then being detained in Tanay and he was likewise prevented,” he said.

“It is a tale of two friends, whose continuing efforts to help their people have made their history  so colorful that even Hollywood cinemas could not compare,” he said.

Nurul Izzah thanked Estrada for the gesture.    

She is gladly looking forward to Estrada’s visit to her father in his detention cell in Malaysia as she and her family are only allowed to see him  once a week for 45 minutes, Nurul said.

“It’s a great pleasure,” she said.

“I will tell you that I learn the looks of politics from President Estrada who welcomed us when we visited him when I was still 18 years old. I learned to take the risks to speak out. The measurement of leadership is not only the tradition, but how you stand up and fight for human rights. We represent 52 percent of support of our population.”

The Malaysian government has no reason to continue detaining her father, she added.

A team of the United Nations working group on arbitrary detention unanimously declared that Anwar is being held illegally and in violation of international law, Nurul said.

“The working group on arbitrary detention of the UN renders the following opinion: the deprivation of liberty of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim is arbitrary… taking into account all the  circumstances of the case, the working  group considers that the adequate remedy would be to release Mr. Ibrahim immediately, and ensure that his political rights that were removed based on his arbitrary detention be reinstated,” she said, quoting the UN working group declaration.

The UN working group is a five-member independent and impartial body appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. It is currently comprised of experts from Australia, Benin, Mexico, South Korea and Ukraine.



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