ISTANBUL – Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday petitioned the UN seeking relief in a multi-million dollar corruption case.

Najib filed a petition with the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) “asking for a release or retrial” following a decision by Malaysia’s apex court last year sending him to prison for 12 years.

He is serving the term in Kajang Prison, located in the Sungai Jelok area of Selangor province.

His lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said: “Najib was asking the UNWGAD panel, comprising five experts on international justice, to rule that the Federal Court's dismissal of his appeal on Aug 23, 2022 was unjust and flawed, and violated his basic rights as well as the Federal Constitution.”

“The (Malaysian) Federal Court proceedings failed to accord him a reasonable opportunity to argue his case and denied his lawyers adequate time to prepare it.

“The court did not allow his defense team even to make submissions in the appeal against his sentence of 12 years' imprisonment,” Shafee told a news conference in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

“In essence, Najib was sent to jail without the opportunity to defend himself at the Federal Court,” Malaysia Now news website quoted Shafee.

Najib was sentenced to jail for 12 years as the country’s top court upheld his conviction in the corruption scandal last year in August.

A five-member bench of the Southeast Asian nation’s Federal Court had upheld the sentence and conviction of Razak, 69, imposed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court in the infamous 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

The scandal came to light in 2015 when Malaysia's then-Prime Minister Razak was accused of channeling $700 million from the company's fund – known as the 1MDB scandal. (Anadolu)