Malaysia DNA bill and oath swearing intensify Anwar sodomy charges

[JURIST] A bill introduced in the Malaysian parliament on Monday would require all criminal suspects to submit DNA samples, a measure that has been tied to to the ongoing investigation into sodomy charges [JURIST report] against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] since the government promised to table it last month [JURIST report]. Also on Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi [official website] said that Anwar should decide whether to deny the allegations by swearing an oath, since on Friday the former aide accusing Anwar of sodomy swore on the Koran that his accusations were true. Earlier this month, Anwar pleaded not guilty to the charge of sodomy, which in Malaysia is punishable by 20 years in prison, regardless of consent. Anwar has said the accusations are part of a government campaign to upset his plans to run in an August 26 by-election, and he filed a lawsuit against his accuser [JURIST report] in late June. AP has more. The Star has additional coverage.

Malaysian authorities briefly arrested Anwar last month, less than a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest [JURIST reports]. Last week, Anwar released a medical report [PDF text; JURIST report] that he said refuted the sodomy allegations. 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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