Anwar claims symbolic win after former prosecutor joins legal team
KUALA LUMPUR, May 22 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed a symbolic victory today in having the man who unsuccessfully prosecuted him for sodomy join his legal team to defend an illegal assembly charge, pointing out that someone who was in government did not want to be a part of what he called the “dirtiness”.
Anwar has repeated his charge that the latest charge against him is politically-motivated, and said that former Solicior-General II Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden’s entry into his legal team was “meaningful” to him and a “positive development”.
“I received information that he was willing to join my legal defence team, so I as the accused contacted him for help,” Anwar (picture) told reporters.
“This is a positive development... I think more lawyers are biding their time to join me as well,” he said.
“Yusof’s presence is very meaningful to me. It shows that someone inside the government is aware of the ‘dirtiness’ and does not want to be a part of it,” he added.
Anwar pointed out that if Yusof truly thought he was guilty, then the former solicitor-general would not have agreed to join his legal team.
“Yusof came here with full commitment and his performance today is proof that he only wants justice to be served,” he said.
Yusof joined Anwar’s legal team as the opposition leader was today charged with taking part in an illegal street demonstration on April 28.
It was a startling turn of events as Yusof had led the Sodomy II prosecution against Anwar, which saw the latter being acquitted earlier this year.
He has since retired from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
“Anwar called me last night and I had no hesitation,” Yusof told The Malaysian Insider when approached.
The Malaysian Insider understands that Yusof’s ties with Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail have been cool for some time and he had disagreed with the way some high-profile cases had been handled.
Yusof was earlier spotted mingling with Anwar’s other defence lawyers.
PKR leader and lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah had earlier confirmed with The Malaysian Insider in a text message when asked if the former government lawyer was on the PKR de facto head’s legal team.
Sivarasa said Yusof was assisting Anwar’s lead counsel Karpal Singh. The other lawyers on Team Anwar are Karpal’s son Ram Karpal Singh Deo and Sankara Nair.
Anwar, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and Rembau PKR chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin were today charged with taking part in the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally under section 4(2)(c) of the Peaceful Assembly Act, less than a month after the new law aimed at allowing public gatherings “in accordance with international norms” was enforced.The offence under the Peaceful Assembly Act carries a maximum fine of RM10,000.
All three claimed trial.
Sessions Court judge Mahmud Abdullah set July 2 as the next mention date for the trial.