Asia-Pacific

Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim appeals over 'affair'

Anwar Ibrahim in talks with his lawyers at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur
Image caption Mr Anwar says the trial is "a farce" and is "politically motivated"

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has asked a court to drop sodomy charges against him because of allegations that a female prosecutor had an affair with the main witness.

The junior prosecutor has already been removed, but Mr Anwar says her alleged affair with the male witness is evidence of a conspiracy against him.

Mr Anwar is accused of sodomising a former male aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008. He strongly denies the charge.

The trial was adjourned until 9 August.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Malaysia and Mr Anwar faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Mr Anwar was imprisoned on separate sex and corruption charges in 1998, and freed on appeal in 2004.

'Compromised'

The lawyer for the former deputy premier Mr Anwar asked the High Court to drop the sodomy charge against his client after last week's surprise twist.

A junior prosecutor was removed from the case after a leading political blog claimed she was romantically involved with Mr Saiful, 25, who has accused Mr Anwar of sodomising him.

Malaysia's attorney general made the decision saying there was no proof to support the claim of an affair, but the move would protect the credibility of the prosecution.

Neither Mr Saiful nor the woman, Farah Azlina Latif, has responded to the accusations.

"The integrity of the prosecution is compromised," said lawyer Karpal Singh.

Mr Anwar says there is insufficient evidence to prosecute him, and that the latest revelation is further proof of a conspiracy to end his career.

"It just supports our contention right from the beginning that this is all a farce, a politically motivated trial, trumped-up charges," he told reporters.

"This is an additional fact or evidence to support our case, to show the prosecution is not and cannot be impartial."

A government lawyer said the affair was only "bare allegations with no substance", and that Ms Farah was a junior member of the team, without access to important documents.

Court was adjourned until 9 August, when a judge will hear detailed arguments and rule on whether to resume the trial.

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