Malaysia court refuses to transfer Ibrahim sodomy trial to high court

[JURIST] A judge in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Friday ruled [opinion text] that the sodomy trial of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] will not be transferred to the country's High Court. The application seeking the transfer of the case was signed by Malaysian Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, who is being sued by Anwar relating to his 1998 arrest on similar sodomy charges. Anwar argued that the attorney general was seeking the transfer because of bias. In his ruling, Judge Komathy Suppiah wrote:

It is clear...that the AG was in fact exercising a quasi-judicial power when he signed the transfer certificate. Accordingly, the rule against bias would disqualify him from issuing the certificate.
AP has more. From Kuala Lumpur, the Star has local coverage.

Anwar pleaded not guilty in August to sodomy charges [JURIST report] based on allegations by a former aide. Anwar has denied the accusations, saying that they are part of a government campaign to upset his political aspirations, including a parliamentary by-election he won [BBC report] in August. 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. In August the Federal Court of Malaysia ruled he could challenge the constitutionality [JURIST report] of his original dismissal.

 

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