KUALA LUMPUR ― Just hours after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy here, an online petition has been started to urge the US government to seek the Opposition Leader’s release from his five-year jail term.
In the petition that called Anwar a “longtime friend” of the US, it pressed the administration headed by US President Barack Obama to make the jailed politician’s release a “top priority” in the global superpower’s policy towards Malaysia.
“Anwar Ibrahim, the Leader of the Opposition in Malaysia, a champion of democracy, a believer in Islamic justice, and a longtime friend of the United States, was convicted and jailed on trumped-up charges on February 10, 2015,” said the individual with the initials JM from Alexandria, Virginia who started the petition.
The petition noted that the US White House had quickly issued a statement after Anwar’s conviction to express its “deep disappointment” and concern over Malaysia’s rule of law and fairness of the judicial system, but said such remarks are inadequate.
“But statements are not enough. The Administration must follow its words with action. Anwar is a political prisoner. The future of democracy in Malaysia is at stake. Securing Anwar’s release from prison must be a top priority in US policy towards Malaysia, to be advanced in every way possible,” the petition said when urging for action.
The petition was filed on the White House’s online petitions page under the issues of “civil rights and liberties, foreign policy, human rights”.
It has so far secured nearly 2,000 signatures and has until March 12 to reach the 100,000-threshold mark that is required to prompt a White House response.
The “We the People” site initiated in 2011 by the Obama administration reportedly does not ask for the nationality of signatories, who are only required to be aged 13 and above and owning a verified email address.
This is not the first time that a petition regarding Malaysian events were started on the page, with a petition started in May 2013 to protest against alleged fraud during the country’s 13th general election.
Yesterday, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s conviction of Anwar for sodomising his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, also keeping a five-year jail sentence.
The decision also leaves the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact without a leader.