The lawyer said the cross-appeal, which is also selectively done, should be dropped immediately.
Surendran accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of being wholly responsible for the latest persecution of Anwar.Anwar, who is convicted of sodomising his former aide last month, has been slapped with a five-year prison term.
"It is clear that Umno and BN's intention is to end Anwar's political challenge to the ruling BN coalition. They want to do this by seeking a longer jail sentence," he said in a statement today.
The opposition leader has filed an appeal, but Putrajaya has cross-appealed, seeking to enhance the five-year jail sentence.
Surendran, who is also Padang Serai MP, said BN has consistently used the police, judiciary and the Attorney-General to intimidate, persecute and jail opposition and civil society leaders since independence.
"Umno and the PM's personal involvement in trying to jail Anwar is made obvious by the appointment of Najib's personal lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah to prosecute Anwar.
"The selective nature of the government's cross-appeal in Anwar's case is obvious when compared to the decision not to appeal in cases which involved BN leaders' interests," he said.
Surendran cited the acquittals of political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda in the murder case of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, and former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik in the Port Klang Free Zone scandal.
He said the prosecution "to the shock and disgust of the nation" never filed any appeals against the acquittals in the two high-profile cases.
"The government's corrupt and underhand attempt to jail Anwar is a frontal assault upon our system of parliamentary democracy.
"The government must drop the cross-appeal immediately, publicly state that they will not oppose Anwar's appeal against conviction, and apologise for the wrongs done to him and to the Malaysian public's sense of justice," he said.
Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that Putrajaya was turning the screws further on Anwar as prosecutors filed a cross-appeal to enhance the five-year jail term.
Anwar's lawyer Karpal Singh had said the appeal against the conviction and sentence appeared to be expedited for hearing in the Federal Court as the court registry had already sent him part of the appeal records.
"After going through the records, I found that the prosecution has appealed to enhance Anwar's jail term," Karpal told The Malaysian Insider.
This came almost two weeks after Putrajaya also cross-appealed against a lighter sentence imposed on Karpal, who was found guilty of sedition.
On March 11, Karpal was fined RM4,000 but the prosecution filed a cross-appeal, urging the Court of Appeal to impose a stiffer penalty.
In Anwar's case, a three-man Court of Appeal bench sentenced the PKR de facto leader to five years jail after allowing Putrajaya's appeal to set aside the High Court decision which had acquitted him of sodomising his aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at an upscale condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.
Should the Federal Court court uphold the Court of Appeal ruling, Anwar, who is the Permatang Pauh MP, risks losing his parliamentary seat and could see his political career coming to an end.
He was earlier acquitted of the crime in January 2012 by the Kuala Lumpur High Court. But the verdict was reversed by the Appeals Court on March 7, days before the PKR de facto leader was to contest in the Kajang by-election, which observers said would pave his way to becoming the Selangor menteri besar. – April 14, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider