Malaysia opposition leader releases medical report disputing sodomy charges

[JURIST] Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] released a medical report [PDF text and explanation] Tuesday that he said refuted sodomy allegations [JURIST report] made against him by a former aide. According to the report, the initial examining doctor at a private hospital could not find evidence of sexual assault, but advised the aide to undergo a second examination at a government hospital. Under Malaysian law, courts will only consider medical evidence of rape or sodomy if certified by a government doctor [Malaysiakini report]. Anwar responded [personal blog post] to the report:

I have willingly cooperated in the police investigations; careless and vindictive though it has turned out to be. But I have decided that nation is in a grave situation economically and socially and I can no longer be distracted by such nuisances. I am now determined to move ahead with the reform agenda, which the Malaysian people endorse in the last elections, and I do not intend to address this scurrilous accusations anymore [sic].
Anwar said that the government should drop the case against him in light of the leaked medical report, but the Health Ministry has responded that it will stand by the prior undisclosed results in another medical report and the government has said it will not drop the investigation [Star reports]. Reuters has more. The Star has local coverage.

Malaysian authorities briefly arrested Anwar earlier this month, less than a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest [JURIST reports]. 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. Last month the Federal Court of Malaysia ruled he could challenge the constitutionality [JURIST report] of his original dismissal from office.


 

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