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Malaysia judge rejects Anwar defamation case

[JURIST] A Malaysian judge Wednesday rejected a bid by former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim [official website] to sue former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad [BBC profile] for defamation in connection with renewed allegations that Anwar is a homosexual. Mahathir dismissed Anwar from office in 1998 in the midst of disagreements over financial policy and had him charged with corruption and sodomy in a case that became an international cause celebre. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison but was released in 2004 after an appeals court overturned the sodomy conviction [JURIST report].

Anwar initially sued Mahathir for defamation in 1999 but the case was rejected at the time as "unsustainable"; Anwar brought it again in 2006 after Mahathir allegedly suggested at a human rights conference that Anwar was unfit for office because of his supposed homosexuality and later refused to apologize and pay damages to Anwar. In a statement [text] on his website Wednesday Anwar said that the ruling against him was a "gross injustice to me and my family and friends. It is also a reflection of the state of justice in Malaysia... [and] is utterly devoid of any legal merit." He has
instructed his lawyers to file an immediate appeal. AP has more.

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