Malaysian Prosecutors Appeal Anwar Sodomy Acquittal

Posted January 20th, 2012 at 7:55 am (UTC-5)
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Malaysian prosecutors are appealing the acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges.

After a polarizing two-year trial, the country's High Court cleared Anwar of the charges earlier this month, saying the prosecution's DNA evidence was unreliable.

But officials said Friday that the attorney general had decided to challenge the decision in the country's Appeals Court.

Anwar was accused of having sex with a former male aide in 2008. The former deputy prime minister faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted. Homosexuality is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

The 64-year-old has denied all the sodomy charges, saying his chief political rival, Prime Minister Najib Razak, concocted them. The prime minister denies the allegation.

Anwar is considered to be a leading opposition candidate in general elections that are expected to be held later this year. Analysts say the lengthy appeal process could distract him from focusing on his political campaign, though it is unlikely to prevent him from running.

Anwar was first forced to resign in 1998 after his conviction on an earlier sodomy charge. The Supreme Court threw out that verdict in 2004.