An excerpt from the latest post by Mr Trevino is telling:
"..The third and final difference is that the lessons of Anwar Ibrahim's first trial are well known by all parties. Without minimizing the personal cost paid by Anwar in the Mahathir-era prosecution and subsequent jailing, the political result has been almost entirely to his benefit.
It's technically possible that Malaysia's present government would wish to make the opposition leader a respected martyr all over again in exactly the same manner, but this would be rather extraordinary.
Rather than hoisting Anwar back onto the international stage, it's more likely that Prime Minister Najib simply wishes he would go away."
Precisely Mr Trevino, Prime Minister Najib can be a bit of a flip flop sometimes but this is one sodomy trial that he and his Government does not ask nor need.
Read more of the post From the Huffington Post:
Posted: August 5, 2010 05:38 PM
What Anwar's Trial Really Means
In Malaysia, criminal prosecutions often seem to have a political taint by dint of history and media. In that vein, it's important to address both in assessing the meaning of the trial of Anwar Ibrahim.
Western media's treatment of Anwar's sodomy trials tends to focus on what strikes Westerners as remarkable: that he is being tried for sodomy, which in itself is no longer a crime (de facto if not always de jure) in Western societies. This is indeed morally unacceptable, and even shocking -- and were this the beginning and the end of the charges against Anwar Ibrahim, the media campaign against his prosecution would be on solid ground.
The truth is somewhat more nuanced. Though Anwar Ibrahim is on trial for violation of Malaysian anti-sodomy law, this is effectively ancillary to his alleged crime: a sexual assault upon one Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Saiful has told police and prosecutors that the opposition leader, for whom he then worked, coerced him into a sexual encounter in early 2008. It is this nonconsensual activity, not sodomy per se, that is now at the heart of the trial of Anwar Ibrahim.
In the West, prosecutions of this nature are frequently sensational, but rarely controversial. Thankfully, we're mostly past the social stage wherein victims of sexual assault are routinely disbelieved. And we generally understand that leveraging individual power for sexual favor is, if not always outright criminal, at least immoral. This much is uncontroversial, and for a major Western media outlet to suggest otherwise would bring down upon it a well-deserved storm of criticism and protest.
So why is the reporting on Anwar's trial in Malaysia so different? Why is it so frequently assumed that the putative victim in this case is merely a political tool, instead of a person with a right to his day in court? Why this apparent double standard?
The answer lies in the circumstances of Anwar's first trial under the same law -- but not for the same crime. That 1998 prosecution was widely, and with justification, seen as a politically motivated persecution by the government of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Mahathir, a generally disliked figure in the West for his strident Islamist rhetoric and conspiratorial mindset, saw his erstwhile deputy and protégé Anwar as a political threat. The courts were duly mobilized, and Anwar lost.
The immediate effect upon Anwar was jail time, but the long-term political effect was almost wholly beneficial. Having been persecuted by Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim immediately became the presumptive leader of the political opposition to the Malaysian ruling party. As a direct consequence, he established a fruitful and friendly liaison with Western policymakers and politicians, from Al Gore to Paul Wolfowitz and beyond, most of whom assumed that Anwar was against all the hateful things that Mahathir was for. Of course, longtime watchers of Malaysia know this isn't the case: Anwar may have been Mahathir's victim, but he remains his persecutor's protégé, as B'nai B'rith acknowledged last month when it urged American policymakers to shun him over a pattern of anti-Semitic statements.
The present case strikes an ill-informed media establishment as more of the same. Once again, they see Anwar Ibrahim prosecuted under Malaysia's sodomy laws. But there are important differences on this go-around that responsible reporting must note. First and foremost, as noted, is the assault angle. Whereas the Mahathir-era prosecution jailed Anwar and his alleged sexual partners, there is no legal pursuit of Saiful Bukhari. The young man alleging Anwar's coercion is treated like any victim of sexual assault in any ordinary, developed country.
The second signal difference is so obvious, it almost seems absurd to say it: this isn't the Mahathir era. The paranoid, authoritarian former Prime Minister's rule is years in the past, and he is by now thoroughly unwelcome in the upper echelons of the ruling party. His two successors, former Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi and present Prime Minister Najib Razak, are openly loathed by their predecessor for abandoning or eroding the pillars of his policies: aggressive Malay nationalism, anti-Americanism, domestic repression, and support for Islamism around the world. The marginalization of Mahathir doesn't prove that Anwar's present trial is "legitimate," of course -- but it does suggest that the present Malaysian authorities and judicial processes should not be assumed to operate under his rules.
The third and final difference is that the lessons of Anwar Ibrahim's first trial are well known by all parties. Without minimizing the personal cost paid by Anwar in the Mahathir-era prosecution and subsequent jailing, the political result has been almost entirely to his benefit. It's technically possible that Malaysia's present government would wish to make the opposition leader a respected martyr all over again in exactly the same manner, but this would be rather extraordinary. Rather than hoisting Anwar back onto the international stage, it's more likely that Prime Minister Najib simply wishes he would go away.
In the trial of Anwar Ibrahim, the most one may hope for is that the truth will emerge in its course. Western media, reporting on it from afar, would do well to treat it not as a replay of 1998's script, but as they would a similar proceeding in the West: and not fall for the agenda of any of its parties.
Joshua S. Treviño is the President of Treviño Strategies and Media, and a longtime observer of Malaysian affairs. He served as a speechwriter in the Administration of George W. Bush.
In the sodomy trial, make no mistake, the truth will prevail and justice will be served as soon as Anwar and his lawyers totally run out of excuses to delay the trial.
I am waiting with much anticipation for the Prosecution to present Lab reports of the sperm DNA found in Saiful.
The longer Anwar Ibrahim attempts to delay the trial, the more will people who are unconvinced will be questioning why then when he says he is innocent he is delaying the trial as if he has something to hide.