MALAYSIA

Anwar's sodomy accuser files HK$121m lawsuit against Malaysian opposition leader

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 11:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 7:22pm
AFP

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Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim faces a big civil lawsuit from a former male aide who has accused the opposition leader of sodomising him, Anwar's lawyers said yesterday, calling the suit "politically motivated".

The suit, filed in June by Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, seeks damages of 50 million ringgit (HK$121 million) and adds to mounting headaches for the opposition leader.

Anwar, 67, is fighting to overturn a March criminal conviction on charges that he sodomised Saiful in 2008, a ruling that Anwar calls a smear by the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno).

Anwar is also embroiled in a bitter dispute with a member of his three-party opposition alliance that threatens to break apart the coalition, whose recent electoral successes have put severe pressure on Umno's long-ruling regime.

Anwar's lawyers said he had to file a defence to Saiful's civil suit on September 3.

"It is politically motivated to smear Anwar's name. It is a baseless suit which we will defend vigorously in court," said N. Surendran, Anwar's counsel.

Anwar maintains Umno is manipulating the courts to wage a long-term vendetta to blacken his name and halt the opposition's momentum. Saiful's sodomy accusation came shortly after Anwar led the newly formed Pakatan Rakyat coalition to historic gains in 2008 elections.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has admitted meeting Saiful shortly before the original charges were filed, but has denied involvement.

Anwar was acquitted in 2012 on the Saiful sodomy charge. But a court sensationally overturned that ruling in March. Sentenced to five years in jail, he is out on bail pending a fresh appeal.

Surendran said Malaysia's highest court is expected to fix a date for Anwar's appeal today.

 

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