KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been allowed to have physical contact with his family members seven times during their prison visits last year, the High Court here heard.
In submissions before Justice Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad, Senior Federal Counsel Shamsul Bolhassan argued that Anwar and his family could apply to the prison authorities for such physical contact.
He added that the prison authorities would consider those applications on a "case by case" basis, adding that prison authorities have the discretion to decide on their written applications.
"All prisoners are to be treated equally. There are no special privileges in respect of prisoners," he said.
He asked the court to dismiss a judicial review bid by Anwar and his family members asking for access to physical contact during prison visits.
In the test case, Anwar's four eldest grandchildren are claiming they have been deprived of hugs from the PKR leader.
However, Anwar's counsel N. Surendran argued that Anwar was not demanding for any special privileges but only asking for his fundamental rights.
Surendran added that Anwar was currently allowed one visit every three weeks and said that physical contact was only granted for five minutes on rare occasions.
"The court has the right to interfere and uphold the right of prisoners (to have physical contact with their family members during prison visits), " he said.
Surendran said the decision to deny Anwar physical contact with his family members is unreasonable, irrational and unconstitutional.
Justice Nik Hasmat has set March 7 to hand down his decision on the judicial review.
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