Malaysia opposition leader Anwar guilty of sodomy, court rules

  • PTI, Kuala Lumpur
  • Updated: Mar 07, 2014 19:36 IST

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was on Friday handed down a five-year jail term by a court on charges of sodomy, jeopardising his political career.

In a unanimous decision, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal found 66-year-old Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in June, 2008.

Overturning Anwar's 2012 acquittal in the case, the court granted him a stay of execution of the sentence with a bail of RM 10,000 in one surety.

The court allowed Anwar to post bail on Monday. It had allowed the prosecution's appeal against a 2012 high court decision that had acquitted Anwar of the charge.

Justice Balia Yusof Wahi ruled that the trial judge had erred in his finding that the integrity of the victim's DNA samples had been compromised.

Sodomy is a crime in Muslim-majority Malaysia and is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

Anwar's reentry into politics as the leader of the opposition alliance had resulted in a popularity sway away from the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional which has been in power since the country gained independence in 1957.

Though the opposition did not win the last two general elections, it made a huge and noticeable dent in the ruling party's vote bank.

Anwar has long battled sodomy and corruption charges and was previously jailed for six years.

The guilty verdict means Anwar will be disqualified from contesting elections in opposition-ruled Selangor state later this month. His lawyers have said they will appeal to Malaysia's highest Federal Court.

Anwar was expected to take over as the chief minister of Selangor had he won the polls.

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