Anwar Ibrahim to face another trial on sodomy charge

March 6th, 2009 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, March 6 (IANS) Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will be tried by a high court bench on charge of sodomy - the same accusation he faced a decade back when he was sacked as the deputy prime minister.
His lawyers Thursday said a high court ruling dismissing his plea in the matter was “very disappointing”.

Ibrahim had won a favourable ruling last November. But Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah Thursday said the Sessions Court judge “had erred”.

The case has been set for mention next Tuesday, The Star newspaper said.

Anwar is now on trial for allegedly sodomising his former aide Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan at a penthouse June 26 last year.

The earlier sodomy charge had led to his sacking by then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998. He faced a long trial and jail thereafter.

Ibrahim staged a political comeback in the March 2008 election when the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat (PR) won an unprecedented 88 seats in parliament and wrested control of four states.

Ibrahim later won a by-election and re-entered parliament after a decade. However, his threat of “taking over” the government by causing defections from the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional have not materialised.

The fresh sodomy charge, Ibrahim says, was brought with the help of the same officials who were part of his persecution a decade back and hold top positions now.

His lawyers have consistently argued that the two officials, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector General of Police, Musa Hassan, should be disqualified.

They cited before the court an assurance by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that the two, who had allegedly fabricated evidence in Ibrahim’s sodomy trial 11 years ago, would not be involved this time around.

Ibrahim’s lawyers said they would move a higher court to seek redressal.

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