Malaysia’s Prosecution Closes Arguments In Anwar’s Trial

Posted December 13th, 2011 at 6:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Prosecutors in Malaysia have wrapped up their closing arguments in the sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, saying there is evidence beyond reasonable doubt to convict him.

But Anwar told reporters after the hearing Tuesday that nothing has been proven and he should be released.

“They have not proven anything beyond reasonable doubt, and therefore, based on the facts and the law, I must be free. And if the decision is purely based on the facts and the law, there's no question but to acquit me of all frivolous, scurrilous attacks, and charges.”

Anwar's former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, has testified that Anwar forced him to have sex with him in an apartment in 2008. Prosecutors presented DNA samples from semen found on Saiful's body that allegedly matched Anwar's. The 64-year old Anwar claims that he is innocent and that the charge is politically motivated.

The trial is expected to conclude this week. He faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

Anwar is Prime Minister Najib Razak's main rival. His party made major gains in Malaysia's last parliamentary elections. A conviction would prevent him from running in national elections expected next year.

Mr. Najib has denied Anwar's allegation that the government fabricated the charges to remove him from the political scene.

Prosecutor Yusof Zainal Abiden told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that the defendant had failed to adequately dispute DNA evidence and the prosecution's claim that he was present at a condominium where the incident allegedly occurred.

The prosecutor rejected the defense's insistence that the DNA samples could have been illegally obtained from Anwar and used on Saiful, and that the samples had been mishandled during the process of gathering evidence.

Anwar was forced to step down as deputy prime minister in 1998 after being convicted of sodomy. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction and he was released in 2004.