respect vs anwar

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — A petition urging the US to make freeing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a priority in its foreign policy with Malaysia is not “unprecedented” as the White House took similar steps in the case of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, said the former diplomat behind the bid.

John R. Malott, the former US ambassador to Malaysia who launched the petition to the White House on February 10, pointed out that his country has in the past made the release of the Nobel laureate and other non-citizen prisoners a key goal in its foreign affairs.

“Yes, in Myanmar with Aung San Suu Kyi, in Russia with Anatoly Sharansky, in China with a number of people, and other cases. It is not unprecedented,” he told Malay Mail Online in an email interview yesterday.

Malott, who wrote the first petition entry on Tuesday evening, said he woke up yesterday to see that 27,000 individuals had signed it, saying: “I am very confident that we will hit the 100,000 mark”.

Only online petitions that pass 100,000-signature threshold will get an official response from the US government.

While Malott acknowledged the petition will not secure Anwar’s release, he said it was important in diplomatic relations between countries to register concern over issues. –MalayMailOnline