Najib petitions UN over his ‘unjust’ imprisonment

KUALA LUMPUR: Jailed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has submitted a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) seeking a release from prison or retrial of his SRC International case.

His counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said the petition titled “Datuk Seri Najib Razak vs Malaysia” was sent to UNWGAD in Geneva yesterday.

Najib is currently serving his sentence of 12 years in prison in August after the apex court affirmed his conviction and sentence in the SRC case.

“Najib is asking the UNWGAD panel of five experts on international justice to rule that the dismissal of his appeal by the Federal Court on Aug 23 last year was unjust, flawed and had violated his basic human rights and the Federal Constitution,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Shafee claimed that there were serious breaches of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which Malaysia is a party to.

“The Federal Court proceedings failed to accord him a reasonable opportunity to argue his case and denied his lawyers adequate time to prepare it.

“The court did not allow his defence team to make submissions in the appeal against his jail sentence of 12 years.

“In essence, Najib had been sent to jail without the opportunity to defend himself at the Federal Court,” he said.

Shafee added that Najib is asking UNWGAD to decide whether his trial was fair, and “if not, may call upon the government to release him or provide him with a retrial.”

“Although this decision is not directly binding, it is very influential, especially as Malaysia has a distinguished jurist who is currently a member of the working group,” he added.

Shafee said he hoped that the UNWGAD would look into the case at its first sitting of the year on Jan 9.

“We had also sent a copy to the international division of the Attorney General’s Chambers,” Shafee said.

“We might send a copy to the Prime Minister himself,” he added.

Shafee compared the case of Najib to that of Brazil’s president Luiz de Silva, who was jailed but was released after advice by UNWGAD.

De Silva, known as Lula, was Brazil’s president from 2003 to 2010 and he was targeted in a massive corruption probe.

In April last year, UNWGAD stated that his trial had violated due process.

Lula was released and was appointed President after the South American country’s general election.

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