the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Statement by NSC Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Conviction of Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim

The United States is deeply disappointed with Mr. Anwar’s conviction following a government appeal of the original verdict finding him not guilty.  The decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar and the conduct of his trial have raised a number of serious concerns about rule of law and the fairness of the judicial system in Malaysia.  These concerns are compounded  by the government’s intent to expand its sedition law, which Prime Minister Najib had pledged to repeal, to prosecute government critics.

When National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Malaysian opposition leaders in April 2014, she reiterated the President's message that countries who uphold the human rights of all their citizens -- regardless of their political affiliation, ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation -- are ultimately more prosperous and more stable.  The United States and Malaysia have built a strong “comprehensive partnership,” and we remain committed to expanding our cooperation on shared economic and security challenges affecting our countries’ interests in Asia and globally.  In that context, we urge the Government of Malaysia to apply the rule of law fairly, transparently, and apolitically in order to promote confidence in Malaysia’s democracy, judiciary, and economy.