The family of former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has filed an application for judicial review today to seek permission from the High Court in Kuala Lumpur to review the Pardons Board's decision on March 16, which turned down their request.
The basis of their application is the presence of Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail in the board's meeting, when there was an undertaking from then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the AG would not be involved in the case.
Anwar, his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as well as their daughters Nurul Izzah and Nurul Nuha are the applicants.
They named the Pardons Board of the Federal Territory, Labuan and Putrajaya, the AG and government as respondents.
Anwar and his family are seeking an order to quash the March 16 decision and compel the board to reconvene the meeting and consider all matters related to their petition and tender the appropriate advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Alternatively, they are seeking the board to advice the Agong that Anwar should be pardoned and released from serving his five years' jail sentence for Sodomy II.
The application was filed at the High Court registry today by the firm of Messrs Daim & Gamany.
'I'm a prisoner of conscience'
In Anwar's affidavit in support, he said the board's decision was made following an affidavit produced by the Attorney-General’s Chambers dated March 27 this year, whereby the application under Rule 113 was rejected.
"However, there is no such application made by the family under Rule 113, Prisons Regulations 2000.
"Furthermore, I was informed that Gani sat in the board meeting on March 16 and this was confirmed by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri's written reply to Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah.
"Hence I state that the purported decision is tainted and vitiated as Gani is an interested person with a long standing animus against me," said the de-facto PKR leader.
Anwar named the black eye incident of 1998 and the evidence of former Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation Department Ramli Yusof in a KL High Court case and also the promise made by Abdullah or better known as Pak Lah that Gani would not be involved.
The former opposition leader said Gani failed to disclose to the board and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that an order to investigate was produced against government-appointed prosecutor Muhammad Shafee Abdullah following the false affidavit that the top lawyer had filed.
"There are strong grounds for the petition of pardon to be granted as there is clear evidence of a political conspiracy and fabricated evidence against me.
"The Federal Court's decision to affirm the conviction by the Court of Appeal has been criticised worldwide and in Malaysia.
"I regard myself and am regarded as a political prisoner," he said, adding that Amnesty International also described him as a political prisoner.
For this reason, Anwar said the board's decision violated his rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and breached the rules of natural justice and therefore should be declared void.
Wan Azizah said the board should re-look its decision following Gani's presence.
Lawyer: Board acted incorrectly
Anwar's lawyer N Surendran said the Pardons Board acted incorrectly as according to the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acted on the advise of the bodies including ministers.
"The actions of the Pardons Board are reviewable," he said.
Another lawyer, Latheefa Koya, said till today the family had not been formally informed of the decision and this is a strange behaviour on the part of the authorities.
Nurul, who is PKR vice-president and Lembah Pantai MP, said this are challenging times for the family as his father needs medical attention and this are not being attended to.
"I would like to applaud the lawyers who have the stamina to continue the fight and the Inter Parliamentary Union plans to visit Anwar at the Sungai Buloh prison on June 29.
"Hence, this process (pardon) is very crucial and the bodies and agencies should take heed and ensure that it is done in a proper and independent manner," she said.