Anwar loses bid to strike out sodomy charges

September 20, 2010 12:00 am

, KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 20 – Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Monday lost another bid to have sodomy charges against him thrown out, on the grounds his accuser allegedly had an affair with a prosecutor.

Anwar, a 63-year-old former deputy prime minister who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago, has argued that the relationship undermines the entire case against him.

The High Court in August conceded the allegations that 25-year-old Saiful Bukhari Azlan and lawyer Farah Azlina Latif were romantically involved were presumably true as the prosecution had not denied them.

But it refused the defence request to strike out the sodomy charges, saying there was no proof of its argument that Saiful could have been passed confidential trial information by the junior prosecutor.

In another blow for Anwar on Monday, Court of Appeal judge Ahmad Maarop said it could not hear the case because the High Court order in August was not a formal decision which could be reviewed.

"We have no jurisdiction to hear and determine this appeal. We dismiss the appellant\’s appeal," he said, drawing an angry response from Anwar whose counsel said they would appeal to the nation\’s highest court.

"Justice was not served in this case. The right to be heard was not there. It was an absurd judgement," he told reporters. "This is a sorry state of affairs of the judiciary in the country."

Defence counsel Karpal Singh bitterly criticised the decision, saying it merely rested on a technicality, and that the defence had had no opportunity to put forward its arguments.

"The decision given by the Court of Appeal is unsupportable, illogical, against common sense. Unfortunately, we are bound by it," he said.

"This court, in my view, has abdicated from its duty to do justice."

Anwar has repeatedly said he is the victim of a political conspiracy and that he fears he will not receive justice on the charges which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

The trial, which opened in February but which has been punctuated by lengthy delays and made little progress, will now resume and the High Court will on Tuesday fix a date for the next hearing.


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