Malaysia's Anwar 'to be charged'

The country's de facto opposition leader is summoned to "answer charges" in court.

    Wan Azizah, right, quit as MP to facilitate her husband's political comeback [AFP]

    Ismail Omar, the national deputy police chief, said in a statement the attorney-general's office had decided to charge Anwar after police "completed their investigation into a criminal sex case involving intercourse against the laws of nature".

    Sodomy is illegal in Malaysia even among consenting adults, and a conviction could see Anwar jailed up to 20 years.

    Anwar has denied the sodomy allegations saying they were aimed at derailing his political comeback.

    'Sham trial'

    After receiving the order on Wednesday Anwar said he holds Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Malaysian prime minister, personally responsible for the move, accusing him of trying to staging "a sham trial" to deflect public attention from national problems.

    The news came as Anwar prepared to contest in a by-election for a parliamentary seat vacated last week by his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also Keadilan president.

    Hours earlier the Election Commission fixed August 26 for the by-election in Permatang Pauh in the northern state of Penang, where Anwar was MP before his sacking from office on charges of corruption and sodomy in 1998.

    The commission announced that nominations can be filed 10 days before polling day, and urged both sides to "obey the instructions of the security officials to safeguard public safety and security".

    Despite being formally charged Anwar can still contest the seat but he could be prevented from campaigning if the court refuses to release him on bail pending a trial.

    The sexual abuse allegation surfaced last month as Anwar, the former deputy prime minister, stepped up his campaign to return to parliament.

    A 23-year-old male aide claimed Anwar had sexually assaulted him in June but Anwar insists the allegation was fabricated to thwart his plan of seizing power
    from the government by mid-September.

    The government denies a conspiracy.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.