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Anwar’s Fate To Be Determined Tomorrow After Seven-Year Battle

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PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will know tomorrow whether he walks free or will be jailed for sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, in 2008.

A five-man bench of the Federal Court, chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, will announce the verdict on the opposition leader’s final appeal against his conviction and five-year jail sentence, to end the seven-year sodomy saga.

The judgement is the culmination of an eight-day hearing late last year, said to be the country’s longest appeal hearing, after which the bench reserved its decision after presiding over submissions from Anwar’s 15-strong defence team, led by lawyer and former Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram.

Senior lawyer Tan Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, via appointment by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, headed the team representing the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The hearing was initially set for two days from Oct 28 last year , 2014 but dragged on until Nov 6 as the defence and prosecution presented lengthy submissions and cited many legal cases.

On Jan 9, 2012, the Kuala Lumpur High Court acquitted Anwar of committing unnatural carnal intercourse against Saiful, 27, at Unit 11-5-1 of Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The court had ruled that the samples could have been compromised before they reached the Chemistry Department for analysis.

A total of 27 prosecution witnesses, including Saiful and eight defence witnesses, including Anwar, testified in the trial.

The trial took almost three years at the High Court.

However, the Court of Appeal reversed the acquittal on March 7 last year and sentenced him to five years’ jail, ruling that the lower court had erred in its finding that the integrity of the DNA samples in the case was compromised.

Anwar, 68, will lose his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat if his conviction and jail term is upheld, in line with Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution which states that a member of parliament would be disqualified if he or she is sentenced to a jail term of more than a year, or fined more than RM2,000.

Sodomy is punishable with imprisonment up to 20 years under Section 377B of the Penal Code.

This is Anwar’s second sodomy case. In the first case, the PKR de facto leader was found guilty of having sodomised his family’s driver, Azizan Abu Bakar at Tivoli Villa in Bangsar in 1994 and was sentenced to nine years’ jail by the High Court on Aug 8, 2000.

Anwar was ordered to serve the sentence after completing his six-year jail term for corruption. On April 4, 1999, he was found guilty on four corruption charges.

However, Anwar was released on Sept 2, 2004 after a three-man panel of the Federal Court, led by Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who later became chief justice, overturned his conviction and set aside the jail sentence on the sodomy charge in a 2-1 majority decision.-NST

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