Malaysia's federal court hears Anwar Ibrahim's bid to review sodomy conviction

Anwar Ibrahim leaving the court in early September 2016.
Anwar Ibrahim leaving the court in early September 2016.PHOTO: SIN CHEW DAILY

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Federal Court is set to hear jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's review against his sodomy conviction on Wednesday (Oct 12), with a new lead prosecutor to handle for the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC). 

Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, who is from the AGC's trial and appellate division, will lead the prosecution for the review hearing with Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram leading the defence team again.

Datuk Seri Anwar, 69, is serving a five-year jail sentence for sodomy after he was imprisoned in February last year.

The Federal Court had on Feb 10 last year upheld Anwar's conviction for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 31, at a condominium in a western Kuala Lumpur suburb on June 26, 2008.

Wednesday's appeal is the last legal recourse to overturn his conviction.

Anwar's legal team has said it will highlight the lack of DNA evidence and inconsistency of his accuser's testimony in their review.

A strong police presence was seen in and around the Palace of Justice, which houses the Malaysian Court of Appeal and Federal Court, in Putrajaya as Anwar's supporters gathered ahead of the review. Several PKR leaders gave speeches to the supporters gathered outside the court. 

Anwar's wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, arrived at the courthouse accompanied by her daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar, who is PKR vice-president.

Prominent United States lawyer Kimberley Motley, who recently joined the Opposition leader's legal team, was also seen entering the courtroom.

Anwar's review is a rare case in the Federal Court's history, as Wednesday's panel of judges will deliberate whether the previous panel had erred in their unanimous ruling to uphold the Court of Appeal's guilty verdict.

If the review is successful, he could be released from prison and this could pave the way for him to contest in the 14th general election to be held by June 2018.