February 10, 2015 at 9:23 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Malaysia high court upholds opposition leader’s sodomy conviction

DeLee, gay news, Washington Blade

The Malaysia Federal Court on Tuesday upheld opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction. (Image by Bigstock)

Malaysia’s highest court on Tuesday upheld former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction under the country’s anti-sodomy law.

The Associated Press reported that Anwar described the verdict and the five-year prison sentence he received from the Malaysia Federal Court as the “murder of judicial independence.”

Malaysian authorities in 2008 accused Anwar of sodomizing an aide who worked for his opposition party.

The Malaysian High Court in January 2012 acquitted the opposition leader, but prosecutors less than two weeks later once again filed charges against him. The Malaysian Court of Appeal last March overturned the acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years in prison under the country’s sodomy law.

“I maintain my innocence,” said Anwar, 67, inside the courtroom, according to the Associated Press. “This to me is a fabrication coming from a political conspiracy to stop my political career.”

Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, in a statement criticized Anwar’s conviction.

“The United States is deeply disappointed with Mr. Anwar’s conviction following a government appeal of the original verdict finding him not guilty,” said Meehan. “The decision to prosecute Mr. Anwar and the conduct of his trial have raised a number of serious concerns about rule of law and the fairness of the judicial system in Malaysia.”

Rupert Colville, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, echoed Meehan.

“We are disappointed by the Federal Court ruling today to uphold the Appeals Court decision of March 2014 sentencing Mr. Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader, to five years in prison on charges of sodomy, a crime that should not exist under international human rights law,” he said in a statement.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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