An account of the trial and related events, written by a Queen’s counsel, will be in a bookstore near you soon.
KUALA LUMPUR: A book recounting the Sodomy II trial of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and issues surrounding it will hit local bookstores in September.
Entitled “Sodomy II”, it is written by Queen’s Counsel Mark Trowell of Australia, who observed the trial in its entirety for several international organisations, particularly the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Published by Marshall Cavendish Editions, the book is more than 300 pages thick and will be priced at RM39.90.
“It’s a… day-to-day factual account of the trial from a legal perspective written by a lawyer,” Trowell said in an interview with FMT.
He hopes that it will be of interest to Malaysians. “They can decide whether the trial was fair or not.”
Although the book includes observations about the Malaysian judicial process and the political climate in which the trial took place, Trowell maintains that it is not a commentary on the Malaysian judiciary or Malaysian politics.
“I know that some people would try and draw me out in terms of making a political comment, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for an outsider.
“I’m not here to tell Malaysians how to run their country. That would be offensive and impertinent.”
Trowell observed the case on behalf of the IPU, LAWASIA, the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and Union Internationale des Advocats.
Previously, in 2001, he observed DAP strongman Karpal Singh’s sedition trial for LAWASIA. Karpal was Anwar’s lead counsel in Sodomy II.
Trowell also observed Anwar’s appeal against the 1998 sodomy verdict.
The book contains a complete timeline of events, covering Anwar’s political comeback in 2008, the sodomy allegation made by his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari, subsequent investigations and the trial itself, from its beginning on Feb 3, 2010, until Anwar’s acquittal last Jan 9.
Trowell said the international community was concerned over the second sodomy accusation against Anwar, particularly in light of the much criticised first sodomy trial in 1998.
He acknowledged that his reports to the IPU did not sit well with Putrajaya. Those were the reports that the IPU depended on in its criticism of Sodomy II.
“At one stage, Malaysia threatened to pull out of the IPU,” he said. “But it was a hollow threat.”
He also acknowledged that he was at one time accused of being a mouthpiece for Anwar’s legal team.
He said he was both critical and supportive of both sides in the trial, but denied having any links with Anwar.
“I haven’t seen any money,” he said, laughing. “It’s unfortunate that I’ll be criticised by anybody who doesn’t like the book. It’s unfortunate they can’t enter into a reasoned argument or debate about it.”
The book should be of interest not only to those interested solely in the court case, but also those seeking some insight into current Malaysian politics although it revolves primarily around Anwar.
“The political background is very important because Anwar’s political fortunes seem forever to be bound up in the legal process,” Trowell said. “It would have broken most people, I think.”