Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim arrested

[JURIST] Malaysian authorities arrested opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] Wednesday afternoon, less than a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest on sodomy allegations [JURIST reports] made against him by a former aide. According to a statement [Anwar blog post] by a staff member, Anwar was stopped by police and taken to their headquarters while he was on his way home. He had just spoken to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency [official website], where he had accused [New Straits Times report] the Malaysian Attorney General and Police Inspector-General of fabricating evidence against him. According to reports, Anwar was taken to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital to undergo DNA tests related to the investigation into the sodomy allegations. The Malaysian news service Bernama reported that Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi [official profile] gave assurances [Bernama report] that Anwar would not be harmed in police custody. AP has more. From Malaysia, the Star has local coverage.

Anwar has claimed that the sodomy allegations leveled against him are politically motivated, and filed a lawsuit against his accuser [JURIST report] in late June. Under Malaysian law, sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison regardless of consent. Anwar was Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister under former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad [BBC profile] until he was fired in 1998 following earlier sodomy charges of which he was initially convicted but later acquitted. He only recently reentered Malaysian politics following the expiration of a ten-year ban [JURIST report] against him for unrelated corruption charges. Earlier this month the Federal Court of Malaysia ruled he could challenge the constitutionality [JURIST report] of his original dismissal from office.

 

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