Malaysia’s Opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was granted a full pardon and freed from jail on Wednesday, reported Reuters. Ibrahim met the Malaysian king Sultan Muhammad V after he was released from jail.
The country’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had said last week that the Malaysian monarch was willing to grant Ibrahim a full pardon, paving the way for him to succeed the 92-year-old politician in two years.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ibrahim said he would take time off to be with his family and would support the government led by Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is Ibrahim’s wife, according to BBC. “I have told Mahathir I do not need to serve in the cabinet for now,” he said, according to the Financial Times.
A day before his release, Ibrahim’s daughter Nurul Izzah said, “It’s been so long that we’ve been craving not just freedom but justice”, according to The Guardian.
Ibrahim was convicted of sodomy in 2000, and sentenced to nine years in prison. His case was seen as a political witch hunt as people in Malaysia are seldom convicted for sodomy though it is illegal in the conservative Muslim country. After his conviction was briefly overturned, Ibrahim led the Opposition alliance in the 2008 and 2013 general elections. He was sent back to jail again in 2015 on sodomy charges, in what Ibrahim said was aimed at crushing his alliance.