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Malaysia: Court Rejects Appeal of Case Involving Sodomy Charge Against Opposition Leader

(Sept. 23, 2010) On September 20, 2010, the Court of Appeals in Malaysia rejected an appeal from an August 16 decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court in a case involving charges of sodomy against an opposition leader. The Court of Appeals, led by Justice Ahmad Maarop, determined that it did not have jurisdiction under the 1964 Courts of Judicature Act (§ 3, Malaysian Court official website,
(last visited Sept. 21, 2010)). (Carrie Schimizzi, Malaysia Appeals Court Rejects Opposition Leader's Bid to Dismiss Sodomy Charge, PAPERCHASE NEWSBURST (Sept.20, 2010),
; Court of Appeals Rules It Has No Jurisdiction to Hear Anwar's Appeal, BERNAMA.COM (Sept. 20, 2010),

The appeal had been sought by Seri Anwar Ibrahim, an advisor to the political party Keadilan Rakyat. He had asked that the sodomy charge against him be dropped. This was his second attempt to end the charge; his first try was dismissed by the Federal Court on May 4. While originally he had based his appeal on a claim of a lack of corroborating medical evidence, this time his action was based on the argument that the prosecution team's impartiality was compromised due to an affair between the person who originally accused Anwar and a member of the prosecution team. The trial is based on an accusation of sodomy lodged by Anwar's former aide, Mohd Saiful. (Bernama, id.)

Anwar has stated that the charges are farcical and designed at stopping him from serving in the legislature; he pleaded not guilty in February. Upon conviction, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years of imprisonment. (Schimizzi, supra.) Anwar's attorney, Karpal Singh, has stated that the appeal was not outside the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals and that the “merits of the appeal ought to be heard.” (BERNAMA, supra.)