Malaysia's Anwar loses bid to dismiss charge

Malaysia's Appeals Court rejected a motion by opposition leader Ibrahim to have a charge of sodomy against him dismissed.

Malaysia's Anwar loses bid to dismiss charge

Malaysia's Appeals Court rejected on Wednesday a motion by opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to have a charge of sodomy against him dismissed.

Anwar could be jailed for up to 20 years if he is convicted of sodomizing a 24-year-old man who was his former aide, effectively ending his political career and his aspirations to become prime minister.

Anwar has sought to have the charge dismissed saying it was part of a political conspiracy against him, that there was no physical evidence to support the charge and that the charge was deliberately brought to disgrace him.

"The appellant has not shown that the charge or prosecution was oppressive or abuse of court," Judge Abu Samah ruled.

The case is being closely watched by international observers who fear a repeat of what they saw as a flawed conviction for sodomy for the former deputy prime minister in 2000.

That earlier conviction was overturned on appeal although one for corruption remained.

"Do you expect for a miracle? You pray for miracles, you don't expect them," a relaxed looking Anwar told reporters as he entered the court in Malaysia's administrative capital, accompanied by his wife and one of his daughters.

Anwar's three-party opposition alliance staged the biggest electoral upset in Malaysia in 2008 when it deprived the government of its two-thirds parliamentary majority and ended up in control of five of the country's 13 states, a record haul.

Anwar was returned to parliament after a bar on him holding office elapsed, and has led the opposition to victory in seven out of nine state and national by-elections since the 2008 polls.

Protest


Some in the Malaysian government have chided foreign commentators for interference in the judicial process. A rally at the Australian High Commmission on Wednesday saw a few hundred people protest against a letter signed by 50 Australian MPs in which they called for the charges to be dropped.

The trial has also started to draw criticism from U.S. politicians, although no government officials have issued any statements. The U.S. Embassy is one of the many in Kuala Lumpur which sends an observer to the trial.

"The current charges closely mirror the ones levied years ago, and have been brought soon after Mr. Anwar's resumption of his role as elected Member of Parliament and leader of the parliamentary opposition," John Kerry, chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement issued on Monday.

The trial will resume on Thursday when the judge will rule on a request from Anwar's lawyers that he stand down from the case for allowing what Anwar terms prejudicial media coverage.



Agencies

Last Mod: 17 Şubat 2010, 11:21
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