Malaysian opposition leader reveals alibi at sodomy trial

Kuala Lumpur, May 31 (DPA) Lawyers for Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Monday that he has an alibi showing that he was not present at a flat when he is alleged to have sodomised an aide.

Karpal Singh said Anwar was in a meeting with five other people at another condominium when the crime was alleged to have occurred.

Anwar, 62, is facing trial on charges of illicit sex with former male aide Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, in June 2008.

Karpal told reporters that the five others who were in the meeting with Anwar would be called as witnesses.

The trial was adjourned to Tuesday to allow the defence team to visit the location of the alleged crime.

Saiful earlier admitted to meeting Prime Minister Najib Razak after the alleged attack and days before he lodged a police report against Anwar.

Anwar and his supporters said the chain of events backed up their claims that the sodomy charge is part of a political conspiracy aimed at toppling Anwar’s three-party opposition alliance.

In the March 2008 general elections, the alliance gained control of five of the country’s 13 states and denied the ruling coalition a two-thirds majority in Parliament for the first time.

Sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

If Anwar is jailed for even a one-year term, he would be barred from holding any political position for five years.

Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and jailed in a separate case for sodomy and corruption, but he was released in 2004 when the Federal Court overturned the sex conviction.

Anwar claimed those charges were trumped up by his former mentor, then-premier Mahathir Mohamad, to avert a political challenge.