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Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim not guilty in sodomy trial

 Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim waves to his supporters after Friday prayer outside a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 6, 201...

Malaysia Anwar

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim waves to his supporters after Friday prayer outside a mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Jan. 6, 201...

Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of sodomy by the Kuala Lumpur High Court Monday following a 2-year trial criticized by outside observers as politically motivated.

Anwar was accused of violating Malaysia’s strict sodomy laws in 2008 by having sex with a male aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Anwar, 64 years old, denied the charges as part of a conspiracy to derail the opposition’s growing momentum.

The judge discharged the case because he said the DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution was unreliable.

“The court is always reluctant to convict on sexual offences without corroborative evidence. Therefore, the accused is acquitted and discharged,” Judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah said.

Anwar’s family wept and hugged in the court as the judgment was read. Party members and supporters cheered.

The verdict clears the way for Anwar, who has united an ideologically disparate opposition, to participate in elections that must be held by June, 2013.

The opposition is aiming to improve on its showing in 2008 when it won five states and held the ruling National Front coalition, now headed by Prime Minister Najib Razak, to its narrowest victory in five decades.

The opposition chief, now an MP, faced similar allegations in 1998 when he was sacked by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as his deputy. Anwar was sentenced to nine years in jail for sodomy and a separate corruption charge, before being released in 2004 after Malaysia’s highest court overturned the sex conviction.


Updated : 2021-05-19 08:47 GMT+08:00