Malaysia's Anwar loses bid to strike out sodomy charges | world | Hindustan Times
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Malaysia's Anwar loses bid to strike out sodomy charges

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today lost a bid to have sodomy charges against him struck out over claims of an affair between his young accuser and a female prosecutor.

world Updated: Aug 17, 2010 12:38 IST

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today lost a bid to have sodomy charges against him struck out over claims of an affair between his young accuser and a female prosecutor.

High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah refused the request, saying there was no proof of the defence argument that 25-year-old Saiful Bukhari Azlan could have been passed confidential trial information by the junior prosecutor.

Anwar's counsel had argued that the relationship undermined the entire case against the 62-year-old former deputy premier, who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago.

The judge said the allegations that Saiful and the lawyer Farah Azlina Latif were romantically involved were presumably true as the prosecution had not denied them.

But he accepted the prosecution argument that she was a junior member of the team, a "note-taker" who had no access to sensitive information that could undermine the trial process.

"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."

Anwar, who spent six years in jail on the original convictions which were widely seen as politically motivated, emerged to reinvent himself as leader of the opposition and score unprecedented gains in 2008 elections.

He has condemned the latest allegations as a conspiracy designed to end his career, and said the relationship between his accuser and the prosecutor is more proof that the trial is biased.

The claims of an affair first surfaced in a political blog last month, and shortly afterwards Farah Azlina was removed from the case.

No evidence has been offered, but neither the attorney-general nor the pair involved have denied the allegations.

Saiful has accused Anwar -- a father of six -- of sodomising him at an upmarket Kuala Lumpur condominium in 2008. If convicted, Anwar could face up to 20 years in prison.

Sodomy, even among consenting adults, is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia.