Anwar Ibrahim cleared of sodomy
The verdict after a trial lasting two years. For the judge, the DNA evidence provided by the prosecution is "unreliable." The politician, Malaysian opposition leader, is delighted and "surprised" at the decision of the court, almost certain of being convicted. Five people with minor injuries after explosion of three bombs near the courthouse.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted of sodomy, after a trial lasting two years and an intricate story of accusations and imprisonment that has lasted 14 years. The judge Zabidin Mohamad Diah said that the DNA evidence provided by the public prosecutor is "unreliable" and closed the proceedings. According to prosecutors, he had had homosexual relations with a young aide and faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. However, the court has cast serious doubts on the evidence provided by the prosecution, in particular on possible DNA contamination. Anwar, 64, has always strongly rejected the charges, labelling them as government tricks to remove him from the national political scene. In response, the Chief Executive said that the verdict of the judges demonstrates the independence of the legal system from any influence of political power.
Commenting on the court ruling, the opposition leader said: " Thank God justice has prevailed. I have been vindicated. To be honest, I am a little surprised". Yesterday, in fact, on the eve of the verdict Anwar Ibrahim said he felt good at a" mental level" and was "psychologically prepared" for a guilty verdict. Even leading analysts and experts on domestic politics believed that he would be found guilty,. Speaking of his physical condition, he added that at 64 he was "not as well as when I was 50" and has had to face prison for the first time. The verdict comes a year before elections, scheduled for 2013, but most think there will be an early vote by the end of this year.
Anwar Ibrahim was Deputy Prime Minister until 1998, when he had to leave following allegations of corruption and sodomy, which is illegal in Malaysia, even between consenting adults. Jailed in conjunction with the Asian financial crisis of the millennium, he spent six years in prison. Released in 2004, the opposition leader was active and immersed himself in the political elections of 2008 which he won by a landslide majority of the electorate, especially among Malaysians of Chinese and Indian origin. He, in fact, despite having a history of Islamic fundamentalism, supported the battle of Catholics for the use of the word "Allah" and is promoting a campaign - the opposite to that of the government - which combines the ethnic Malay majority and religious minorities.
Hundreds of policemen and security officers patrolled the streets of the capital, Kuala Lumpur, during the court hearing. Outside, thousands of Anwar’s supporters waited with anxiety for the decision of the judges. At the news of the acquittal, the supporters - with his family, wife and daughters – cried out with joy and celebrated in the streets. Meanwhile, police sources reported that near the Court there were a series of explosions - at least three, according to the latest news - which caused at least five wounded, but their condition is not of concern. The bombs were placed in a parking lot nearby.