Human Rights Watch: Asylum for Jho Low? Seriously?

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A-G urges Jho Low to stop hiding and come to Malaysia, assuring him of a fair trial.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) cannot believe that any country would seriously consider giving wanted financier Low Taek Jho asylum, due to the magnitude of his financial crimes.

HRW Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson said the group found it hard to believe that any country would consider Low, better known as Jho Low, a refugee.

“It’s hard to believe that the United Nations or any government would consider Low (a refugee), given the well-documented magnitude of his financial crimes and the extensive damage his actions had on the Malaysian government.

“His otherworldly, ostentatious lifestyle, financed with money stolen from the Malaysian people, contained no indication of any principle except unadulterated greed,” Robertson told The Malaysian Insight.

It was reported on Thursday that Low, a key figure in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal, is currently in the UAE and seeking asylum elsewhere.

The Singapore Straits Times and other sources reported that Jho Low was offered asylum last August under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and European Convention on Human Rights.

Robertson said Jho Low has no credibility in claiming to be a victim of human rights abuses.

“If anything, his outlandish claims of victimhood will spark cynicism and misunderstanding about what ‘human rights’ are.

“This is very unfortunate. He deserves a free and fair trial in Malaysia, and that’s all.”

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador also rubbished reports that Jho Low was hiding in the UAE.

Hamid said it was illogical for someone wanted on criminal charges to leave his current hiding place and seek refuge in another country.

A spokesman for Jho Low reportedly said that the wanted man was in the UAE and travelling between Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other parts of the Middle East, where “he holds close relations with members of the royal families” and Europe.

Meanwhile, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had reportedly said that Malaysia’s pursuit of Low to face criminal charges at home will not be affected by the settlement he reached with the US Department of Justice (DoJ).

Thomas told The Edge that the settlement covered only the 30 asset forfeiture actions the DoJ had taken against Low.

Vincent Thian/AP

“Other criminal charges for money laundering and corrupt practices filed against Jho Low by the DoJ are not part of the settlement,” thomas was quoted as saying by The Edge.

He also guaranteed Low that if he gave himself up to Malaysian authorities, he would be given a fair and transparent trial, in the same vein as former prime minister Najib Razak.

Prosecutors in the ongoing 1MDB trial in Kuala Lumpur have accused Najib of conspiring with Jho Low to defraud the state investor.

Najib faces four charges of using his position to obtain bribes totalling RM2.3 billion from 1MDB and 21 charges of money laundering the same amount. – TMI