The Federal Court has begun hearing a final appeal by the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim against a sodomy conviction widely regarded as a means to neutralize the threat he poses to the countryâ€™s ruling coalition.
Anwar was sentenced to five years in prison in March on charges of sodomizing a male aide in 2008 after the appeals court overturned an earlier acquittal.
â€œI am confident of winning the case if we have judicial independence,â€ the 67-year-old told UK’s The Guardian before entering the federal court, where around 200 of his supporters had gathered.
â€œIâ€™m mentally prepared but I donâ€™t have much hope.â€
International critics and independent human rights activists say the case against Anwar will be the final gunfire to the country’s most potent threat.
â€œThis trial is so unjust,â€ Wan Azizah, said outside the courtroom. â€œWe hope and pray that justice will be served, not just for Anwar but for all Malaysians.â€
A verdict is expected on Wednesday.
Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Anwar would also be banned from running for office for five years from the day he is released from jail.
Anwar was previously imprisoned for six years after being ousted as deputy prime minister in 1998 on earlier charges of sodomizing his former family driver and abusing power. He was freed in 2004 after the federal court quashed that conviction.MYNEWSHUB