Leaders of an international network of parliamentarians have welcomed the acquittal of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges.
Parliamentary Forum for Democracy (PFD) Chairman Emanuelis Zingeris; a Lithuanian member of parliament said : “A very large and diverse body of observers have always believed that the charges against Mr Anwar Ibrahim were politically motivated. Most international observers and democratic activists will be happy to see this result.”
Michael Danby MP, the Chair of the Australian Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, and Member of the PFD Governing Council also welcomed the result.
“In early 2010 I organised for 60 Australian members of parliament to sign a letter to the Malaysian Ambassador calling on the charges against Mr Ibrahim to be dropped. The Malaysian Government didn’t provide much of a response, although a ‘rent-a-crowd’ of UMNO partisans did turn up at the Australian Embassy in KL a week or two later” Michael Danby said.
“Mr Ibrahim’s acquittal is a positive sign for democratic development in Malaysia. The 2010 letter pointed out that many observers found it difficult to believe that a leading opposition voice could be charged with sodomy a second time, and so soon after his party made major gains in national elections” said Michael Danby MP
“I understand that Mr Ibrahim will be returning to politics. The next step for Malaysian democracy is to hold free and fair elections” said Michael Danby MP
“The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy will be keenly watching developments in Malaysia. A multi-ethnic, and economically dynamic country, if it achieves genuine democracy, Malaysia could be a model for the region and the world” said Emanuis Zingeris MP.
The Parliamentary Forum for Democracy (PFD) is an international civil organization – made up of around 100 current and former members of parliament - dedicated to strengthening democracy and democratic institutions around the world.
The goals of the Parliamentary Forum for Democracy are to stand in solidarity with democrats struggling for freedom around the world, and to use the skills of its members to strengthen democratic parliaments, particularly in new and emerging democracies.