Can see but cannot touch, court tells Anwar and family

 |Apr 12, 2018
Former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. – File pic credit The Rakyat Post.

PUTRAJAYA: No physical contact allowed, the Court of Appeal told Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as it dismissed his appeal against the Prisons Department’s refusal to allow him to have physical contact with his family members.rue

The three=member bench chaired by Ahmadi Asnawi ruled Regulation 36 of the Prisons Regulations gave the prisons director-general the discretion to entertain prisoners’ requests to have physical contact with their families.

As such, he said there was no merit in Anwar’s appeal to have a blanket approval of such rights.

“The Prisons Department’s decision is not unreasonable or irrational,” he said to a packed courtroom. Sitting with him today were Justices Vernon Ong Lam Kiat and Suraya Othman.

However, Ahmadi said Anwar could apply to have physical contact with family members on a case-to-case basis.

Anwar was present in court today.

Last year, High Court judge Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad ruled that the director-general had the discretion to decide whether to allow prisoners physical contact with their families.

Anwar and his family filed a judicial review on May 18, 2016, to challenge the decision of the Prisons Department and the government.

He, his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, his four daughters and four grandchildren sought to quash the order made by the director of the Sungai Buloh Prison on March 14, 2016, rejecting his application to have physical contact with his family members.

They also sought an order to compel the prison director to allow Anwar physical contact with his family members for the remaining period of his incarceration.

In the High Court, it was told that Anwar had to speak through an intercom as he was separated from his family by a glass partition.

Anwar told the court that he and his family had only been allowed physical contact seven times in 2016 and that each time, it was only for the last five minutes of their visits.

The former deputy prime minister, who is serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy, is expected to be released on June 8.

Lawyer N Surendran said an appeal would be filed in the Federal Court.