Press Release — HRF to King of Malaysia: Release Anwar Ibrahim


In an open letter to Malaysia’s monarch and head of state, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) urged the Malaysian king to immediately release prominent opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim from prison. Ibrahim was convicted on trumped-up “sodomy” charges in 2014, despite a lack of DNA evidence, inconsistency in the testimony of his accuser, and evidence tampering by a senior police officer in the case. He has been serving a five-year sentence since. HRF sent this open letter after new evidence came to light regarding bribery during Ibrahim’s trial.

“Anwar Ibrahim’s criminal prosecution, from beginning to end, was riddled with bias, political influence, and miscarriage of justice,” the letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong states. “We respectfully urge Your Majesty to recognize the undeniable political meddling in Ibrahim’s case, order him to be released from prison, and clear him of his conviction.”

On May 31, 2017, Sarawak Report, an independent news source, published an article stating that the lead prosecutor in the state’s appeal of Ibrahim’s initial acquittal, Shafee Abdullah, received payments totaling RM 9.5 million from Prime Minister Najib Razak as personal compensation just 14 days before the High Court overturned Ibrahim’s acquittal. These payments raise serious questions about Abdullah’s independence, especially since Razak’s administration had previously told the public that Abdullah received an RM 1,000 token payment for his work on the prosecution team. Abdullah has not denied receiving the additional payment from the Prime Minister.

“Anwar Ibrahim was robbed of his freedom and his political rights because of his popularity as an opposition leader,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “If he were given a fair trial, Ibrahim would have been cleared of these bogus sodomy charges. We respectfully urge Your Majesty to do the right thing and reunite him with his family as soon as possible,” he added.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Read the full letter here.

Contact: Prachi Vidwans, (212) 246-8486,


Urge the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to release Anwar Ibrahim.


Yang di-Pertuan Agong

Address: Istana Negara, 50480 Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fax: +6 03 6205 2121