Malaysia to pursue sodomy case against Anwar Ibrahim

  • Published
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"

A Malaysian high court judge has ruled that the government's sodomy case against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will continue.

Mr Ibrahim had sought to have the charges dropped because a member of the prosecution team was involved with the man who accuses Mr Ibrahim of sodomy.

The judge said the romantic connection did not mean case-sensitive information had been exchanged.

Mr Ibrahim dismisses the trial as a political conspiracy against him.

His legal team has lost every attempt to alter the basis and conduct of the trial.

Junior role

The key witness in the sodomy trial against Mr Ibrahim, 25-year-old Saiful Bukhari Azlan, was revealed as having an affair with the prosecution lawyer Farah Azlina Latif.

The judge, Mohamad Zabidin Diah, accepted that the relationship did indeed exist as it had not been denied.

"The court must accept what is stated as true," he said.

However, he also accepted the prosecution team's argument that Ms Latif had simply been a junior note-taker and had no access to details of the prosecution case, and so could not have passed them on.

"She has no control over the directions of the prosecution and in the handling of the witnesses," Mohamad Zabidin said.

"(Therefore it) did not affect the prosecution to the extent that it compromised the integrity and the conduct of the trial."

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.

"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."

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

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.