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Malaysian court gives Ibrahim bail in sodomy case


Kuala Lumpur : Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been given bail after he pleaded not guilty to the charge of having sodomised an aide.

A former aide, Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, has charged that Ibrahim sodomised him June 26.

“This is malicious slander, I’m not guilty,” Ibrahim, 61, said when the charge was read to him in the court of Judge S.M. Komathy Suppiah.

Suppiah then released Ibrahim on a personal bond of 20,000 ringgit ($9,000) without surety, after saying that there was no likelihood that he would abscond, Star Online reported. The government did not oppose his bail.

Ibrahim is getting ready to contest a by-election to parliament from Permatang Puah constituency Aug 26. The by-election, facilitated by resignation of Ibrahim’s wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, is crucial for the controversial leader who wants to return to parliament and stage a political comeback.

Ibrahim emerged politically strong in the March general elections when the opposition he leads got an unprecedented 82 members in parliament and control of five of the 13 states.

He has alleged that he has been framed by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government with the same charge that led to his ouster as deputy prime minister and imprisonment 10 years ago.

Badawi Wednesday said he had no hand in the charge and prosecution of Ibrahim. He said he was “not so stupid” as to ask the police to charge Ibrahim, The Star newspaper reported.

Since Ibrahim was charged with sodomy, Malaysia has witnessed high drama with him seeking refuge in the Turkish Embassy briefly and then battling the government in court rooms, police station and hospital.

He has refused a DNA test and has said the hospital conducted his medical examination “inappropriately” by stripping him.

Ibrahim has been accused of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. If convicted, he can be sentenced to up to 20 years in jail.