Anwar's lawyers to seek house arrest if case review fails

SYDNEY • Lawyers for Anwar Ibrahim will seek house arrest if a final legal review of his second sodomy conviction fails next month.

Anwar, 69, is serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy after he was imprisoned in February last year following a trial widely condemned as politically motivated and legally compromised.

US lawyer Kimberley Motley said Anwar's legal team would again highlight the lack of DNA evidence and inconsistency of his accuser's testimony in the Oct 12 appeal - the last legal recourse to overturn his conviction, she told The Weekend Australian.

"Of course we want to get him released, period, and are going for an acquittal. If that doesn't work, we will try for house detention which is allowed under Malaysian law," said Ms Motley. She is known for her work in Afghanistan, including the early release last month of a former Australian soldier, Robert Langdon, who was serving time for murder.

Anwar was initially accused of rape by a young male intern at his political party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, on June 28, 2008. He was eventually convicted of a lesser charge of sodomy.

While the case was "riddled with problems", one of the most critical was the issue of evidence-tampering by police, Ms Motley told The Weekend Australian.

"Why would a senior police officer tamper with evidence? He was instructed to refrigerate it. Instead he opened it and stuck it in his filing cabinet for several days," she told the paper. "There is no evidence of anything that convicts. I don't know of any court where this would have led to a conviction."

Ms Motley joined Anwar's legal team this month. The paper said she was initially refused access to her client but finally met him last Wednesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 19, 2016, with the headline 'Anwar's lawyers to seek house arrest if case review fails'. Print Edition | Subscribe