Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim fails to get sodomy charge dropped
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Monday failed in his latest attempt to have a sodomy charge against him dropped, reported DPA.
Ibrahim had appealed against an earlier High Court rejection of his application to have the case thrown out over an alleged affair between his male accuser and a female prosecutor.
But the three Court of Appeal judges unanimously ruled that the High Court's August 16 decision was not appealable.
"We have no jurisdiction to hear this appeal," Judge Ahmad Maarof said, "We dismiss the applicant's appeal."
The prosecution had argued earlier that the High Court ruling was an "inherent decision" and not a final order, and that Anwar could only appeal against the final verdict when the trial was over.
Anwar, 63, had initiated the move to have his sodomy charge thrown out on August 2 after rumours of a romantic liaison between his former aide-turned-accuser, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, and Farah Azlina Latif, a junior deputy public prosecutor thought to be in her 20s, first surfaced on the Malaysia Today news website.
Anwar's lawyer said the affair could compromise the prosecution's case as Saiful could have access to important documents and knowledge of prosecution strategies.
As the prosecution had neither confirmed nor denied the allegations, the High Court judge had said "the court must accept what has been said as the truth."
But he dismissed the application to have the case thrown out because of the affair.
He said that Farah's role was limited to taking notes and that she was not privy to the investigation or trial documents. Farah has since been dropped from the prosecution team.
Anwar's lawyer Karpal Singh accused the Court of Appeal of having "abdicated from its duties to do justice in hearing this appeal and its merits. The merits of our application are not being heard and they accepted the prosecution's preliminary objection."
The sodomy trial in the High Court is expected to resume on Tuesday.
Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, had previously been sentenced to nine years in prison for sodomizing his family chauffeur.
He spent six years in jail before a court overturned his conviction on appeal. Then, as now, he claimed the charges were a conspiracy to ruin his political career.
Sodomy is an offence in Malaysia, even if consensual. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in jail, and would be barred from politics.