Attacks on Justice 2002: Malaysia
The Government of Malaysia continued its repression of political opponents and further restricted freedom of expression, assembly and association.
Detentions under the Internal Security Act (ISA) continue. However, a number of developments indicate that there has been a positive change towards a more independent judiciary. The Federal Court quashed the sentence of Anwar Ibrahim’s defence lawyer Zainur Encik Zakaria; a judge criticised the ISA and released two detainees; the High Court struck down one of the suits against the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Param Cumaraswamy, and the plaintiffs withdrew the remaining suits. The government-appointed National Human Right’s Commission called for a wide review of Malaysia’s strict laws on freedom of assembly and expression; and Justice Muhammad Kamil Awang defied a “telephoned directive” from his superior and annulled a victory for the Prime Minister’s ruling coalition in a state assembly election.
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