A classic case of selective prosecution

On March 3, 1999, I wrote to the Royal Commission which inquired into the injuries I suffered while under police custody, asking it to identify the criminals involved, to establish the motive for the attack, to trace developments subsequent to the assault, to investigate allegations of a cover-up attempt and the Attorney-General’s incompetence and prejudice in handling the case, to determine the role of the Minister of Home Affairs in the attack and to see whether all these issues were related in a high-level political conspiracy. Unfortunately, most of these issues were not considered on the ground that the commission’s terms of reference were restrictive.

I reiterate my gratitude to the commissioners for their patience in hearing the evidence and for exposing attempts to conceal facts and exhibits, thus putting pressure on the Attorney-General to act accordingly. Nevertheless, there are serious omissions from the commission’s report. The police has not explained why the Special Action Unit stormed my residence on the night of September 20. Was it to provoke an incident that would provide an excuse for a certain kind of action that would lead to eerie consequences?

The commission did not summon principal witnesses, such as the Attorney-General. Neither did it order the production of Assistant Commissioner of Police Mat Zain’s report as an exhibit critical to the investigation. The Attorney-General had confirmed that the investigation file was submitted to him on November 19 and that this was after discussions were held between Mat Zain and deputy public prosecutors Dato’ Gani Patail and Azhar Muhammad.

The doctors who examined by injuries submitted their report on October 7. Apparently, the Attorney-General was not satisfied with the report. After sitting on it for two months, he decided to appoint his own "specialist," Dr. Abdul Rahman Yusuf, who, without examining me, obediently submitted findings that differed from those of the panel of doctors. The Attorney-General impudently adopted his expert’s opinion and disputed my claims and the panel’s report. However, in his testimony before the commission, Abdul Rahman contradicted his report and agreed with the panel of doctors. The Attorney-General should not have displayed his ill will so blatantly.

Gani did not explain his presence near the scene of the crime and where the decision was made to detain me under the Internal Security Act, whereas when I was arrested it was for an alleged offence under Section 377B of the Penal Code. The probable motive for the change was to prevent disclosure of my injuries. The role of Criminal Investigation Chief Dato’ Yaacob and other officers were not established. Neither were they questioned for not reporting a crime or asked to explain a breach of lock-up rules. It is abhorrent to allow the commission of a crime under the excuse that one could not prevent it because the culprit was one’s superior. No wonder corruption is so rampant and abuses of power by so-called leaders are tolerated!

The commission decided to conclude the inquiry soon after Rahim Noor’s equivocal confession. He was subsequently charged under Section 325 of the Penal Code, to be read with Section 511. This means it is a mere summons case, and he is therefore not required to be inside the dock. It also means he is free without having to post bail. His was a seizable and and arrestable offence, but the Attorney-General has chosen to merely issue a summons similar to the summons which minor traffic offenders receive. (Meanwhile, I have seen hundreds of detainees, including juveniles, who have been in prison for months because they cannot afford to post bail. Most of the cases are petty – minor assault, stealing a pair of trousers, or theft of RM12.)

Having failed in their cover-up attempt and their conspiracy of silence, the conspirators have decided to fool the public by giving only the impression that the due process of law is being followed. Again, we are seeing a classic case of selective prosecution. A crime has been committed; it is absurd to suggest, in charging Rahim Noor, that there was merely an attempt to commit a crime. I would be the least surprised to find out that the powers that be have struck a deal under which Rahim would be let off lightly with the understanding that no others would be implicated or embarassed in the process.

Anwar Ibrahim
Sungai Buloh Prison
19 May 1999

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