INDEPENDENT NEWS

Concern expressed by Goff about Anwar conviction

Published: Tue 8 Aug 2000 04:04 PM
Concern expressed by Goff about Anwar conviction
Foreign Minister Phil Goff says he has conveyed directly to the Malaysian Government New Zealand's concerns at the conviction of former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim and the process followed in securing that conviction.
Mr Ibrahim was found guilty this afternoon on sexual offence charges which his defence argued were trumped-up and politically motivated.
"New Zealand rarely comments on trials in other democratic countries. No country relishes outside criticism of its judicial processes.
"Nor is it appropriate to raise specific aspects of the trial when an appeal is likely to be lodged against the judgement.
"There is, however, deep concern about the adequacy and fairness of the processes followed in reaching this verdict.
"Strong reservations have been expressed by reputable agencies such as the International Bar Association, the Centre for the Independence of Judges, Lawyers of the International Commission of Jurists and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association.
"These reservations relate to the reliability and admissability of evidence, constraints placed on the defence and the independence of the judiciary from the executive.
"When I met with Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid a fortnight ago at the ASEAN Regional Forum I raised this issue with him.
"I have now communicated to him directly New Zealand concerns about the inadequacy of the judicial processes in this case," Mr Goff said.
ENDS
Contact: Paul Goldsmith 04 471 9794 025 477 982

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