Court Sentences Malaysian Opposition Leader To 5 Years In Prison

Anwar Ibrahim

Malaysia’s top court on Tuesday upheld the sodomy conviction of opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim and sentenced him to five years in prison, a verdict he slammed — while standing in the dock — as the “murder of judicial independence” and the result of a political conspiracy. AP reports:

The case was widely seen at home and abroad as politically motivated to eliminate any threats to the ruling coalition whose popularity has slowly been eroding since 2008 after more than five decades of unquestioned dominance. Anwar is the most popular, vocal and visible symbol of the opposition’s resurgence and had become a potent political threat to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

This was Anwar’s final appeal, and once the proceedings ended he was led by police out of the court, presumably to immediately start serving time on charges of sodomizing a then 23-year-old aide who worked in his office. “I have to go. Time’s up,” the 67-year-old politician told his supporters inside the court. “I will miss you all,” he said bowing to them before walking out.

Anwar was accused of sodomizing Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who was working as a lowly functionary in the opposition election campaign office, in 2008. Anwar was acquitted by the High Court in 2012 but the Appeals Court overturned the acquittal in March last year and sentenced him to five years in prison.