Anwar acquitted

I haven’t written recently about the trial of Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia, partly because I’ve been busy but also because it seemed nothing surprising was happening in the trial. Even top Malaysia experts figured a guilty verdict was inevitable. However, earlier today Judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah ruled that the prosecution had not satisfied its burden of proof and there was still some question about the DNA evidence.

It’s not yet clear what this means for the rule of law in Malaysia. According to BBC, Information Minister Rais Yatim proclaimed that “Malaysia has an independent judiciary” and that Prime Minister Najib’s reforms extended to the courts. However, political analysts suspect that the acquittal might have been orchestrated to diffuse opposition to Najib, especially after the Bersih 2.0 protests last July 9 – rights ends, wrong means. While we probably won’t ever know for sure (unless Judge Diah keeps a journal), we might get more clues if the government appeals.

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