Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim must be transferred immediately to house arrest with access to regular medical care, said his lawyer R Sivarasa, as his health takes a turn for the worse while in prison.
Mr Anwar has been jailed since 10 February for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008, charges which he has denied.
Federal Court had quashed his appeal and upheld his conviction.
Amnesty International has designated him a prisoner of conscience, calling the court’s judgment against him an attempt to silence government critics.
Mr Anwar has lost 6kg since the start of his jail sentence, has irregular blood pressure, a 4cm growth on the kidney, gastritis, chronic arthritis and a shoulder muscle tear, said Mr Sivarasa.
Mr Sivarasa also said that the jail where Mr Anwar is held in solitary confinement, Sungai Buloh, does not have the facilities to test and treat his conditions, which would include intensive physiotherapy, a CT scan for the growth, and a gluten-free diet for the gastritis.
“It is urgent that he be transferred immediately to house arrest where he can be permitted to visit his own doctors for regular medical care and treatment,” he said.
Mr Sivarasa, in the joint statement issued today, 30 June, with lawyer Jared Genser, said Anwar’s prison conditions aggravated his health problems.
Mr Genser is the head of Washington DC-based human rights group Freedom Now, an independent non-governmental organisation that works to free prisoners of conscience worldwide.
“Anwar is being held in solitary confinement in a bare cell, having a bucket for bathing, a squat toilet, and being held in hot and humid conditions with minimal ventilation,” said Mr Sivarasa. “These are exacerbating his health problems.”
“In addition, he has received only rare family visits, despite a doctor recommending he be allowed to see his family weekly. Requested visits with counsel are often denied.”
Adapted from media reports.