25 February 2015
Last updated at 03:40
Anwar Ibrahim has said the charges were “complete fabrication”
The family of jailed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim say they have sought a royal pardon over his conviction for sodomy.
Anwar was jailed for five years earlier this month in a case which he has always maintained was brought to keep him out of politics.
He has widely been seen as the only real threat to the ruling coalition.
His family said he was a political prisoner who had been “tyrannised” and that his health was at risk in prison.
“The court may have pronounced a guilty verdict but our father is innocent,” Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Nuha Anwar, said in a statement on behalf of the family. The statement said the conviction had been a miscarriage of justice.
“We placed our confidence in the constitutional process and believe that justice will prevail when all the facts are scrutinised without political intervention.”
Sodomy is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia, though very few people are ever prosecuted.
Anwar – who has already served one six-year term for another sodomy conviction that was later overturned – has always insisted he is innocent.
In a statement released after he was sent to jail on 10 February, he said the charge was “complete fabrication – coming from a political conspiracy to stop my political career” and that he would be silenced.
The petition for a pardon was submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia’s elected monarch. The monarchy rotates between the hereditary rulers of nine Malaysian states.
Timeline: Anwar Ibrahim
- 1993 to 1998 – Deputy Prime Minister, under Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad
- 1999 – Jailed for abuse of power, sparking huge street protests
- 2000 – Found guilty of sodomy with his wife’s driver
- 2004 – Supreme Court overturns sodomy conviction, freeing him from jail. He quickly emerges as the de facto opposition leader
- March 2008 – ruling coalition narrowly wins general election, but with its worst results in 50 years. The opposition makes unprecedented gains
- Aug 2008 – Anwar charged with sodomy for a second time, but despite this is soon voted in as an MP
- Feb 2009 – Second trial for sodomy starts
- Jan 2012 – Acquitted of sodomy by High Court
- May 2013: Leads opposition to best-ever performance in general elections
- Mar 2014: 2012 acquittal overturned by court after government appeal