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Anwar Seeks To Block Sodomy Charge

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has asked a Malaysian court to throw out a sodomy charge against him, two weeks before the start of a trial that he maintains is politically motivated, his lawyer said Thursday.

The government has repeatedly denied Anwar’s claim that the charge was orchestrated to block him from leading a three-party opposition alliance that severely eroded the ruling coalition’s parliamentary majority in the March 2008 election.

Anwar submitted a petition to the High Court on Wednesday that said the case was a conspiracy concocted by his foes in the government, his lawyer Sankara Nair said in a statement.

In his application, Anwar asserted that a medical report dated July 13 last year by a government hospital found no evidence of anal penetration on his accuser.

The charge “is a travesty, a complete farce and has absolutely no basis whatsoever, as there is no case against our client,” Nair said.

The High Court has set June 26 to hear Anwar’s petition, he said.

Anwar, 61, was charged last August with allegedly sodomizing a 23-year-old male former aide. The trial is due to begin July 1. Anwar faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomy, a crime in this Muslim-majority country.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, spent six years in prison after being convicted of corruption and an earlier sodomy charge, following his ouster from the Cabinet in 1998. He maintained his innocence all along and was freed in 2004 when Malaysia’s top court overturned the sodomy conviction.

Anwar revived his political career in last year’s elections when his alliance won more than one-third of the seats in Parliament amid public disenchantment with the National Front governing coalition, which has been in power since 1957.

If the High Court refuses to throw out the charge and the trial does take place, Anwar wants a postponement because his lawyers have not received key documents from the prosecution, Nair said.

The top government prosecutor for the case could not immediately be contacted, and a colleague declined to comment on Anwar’s move.

Saiful Bukhari Azlan, the man who accused Anwar of sodomizing him, wrote on a blog Thursday that “if it is fated for this case to be dropped in a court of this world, it is all right.”

“I accept it because Allah’s court will judge this matter” in the afterlife, he wrote.

Source : Associated Press

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