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Goff welcomes release of Anwar

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

2 September 2004
Media statement

Goff welcomes release of Anwar

Justice has finally been done following today's decision by the Malaysian Federal Court to quash the conviction against former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, says Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

Malaysia’s highest court overturned the original verdict by two votes to one; stating that the High Court had “misdirected itself” and that Anwar should have been acquitted.

Anwar, who has been in jail since 1998, was freed six years to the day after being dismissed from office.

"Anwar’s trial attracted widespread public interest in New Zealand, and at the time I conveyed to the Malaysian government our concerns over the adequacy and fairness of the judicial process followed in his case," Mr Goff said.

"Many international jurists, including the International Bar Association, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association, considered the legal process to have been flawed and partial. Today’s decision upholds that view.

"I also commend the propriety of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s statement indicating that the Malaysian government will not interfere in the Court’s decision.

"It is regrettable when anyone is wrongfully imprisoned and deprived of freedom. I understand that Anwar is now free to travel overseas for urgently needed medical attention. I hope that he will make a full recovery and be able to enjoy life as a normal citizen again," Mr Goff said.

ENDS

All Phil Goff’s media releases and speeches are posted at www.beehive.govt.nz

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