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Malaysia: Anwar files suit against accuser after leaving Turkish embassy

[JURIST] Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] filed a lawsuit [The Star report] on Monday against a former aide who had accused him of sodomy [JURIST report] on Saturday.  In the lawsuit, Anwar said that the aide's allegations against him were baseless and politically motivated. Also on Monday, Anwar left the Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where he had taken refuge [Anwar blog post], fearing for his personal safety in the wake of the sodomy allegations. On Sunday, Anwar had indicated through Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the president of Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat [party website, in Malay] that he would not leave the Turkish Embassy unless Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi [official profile] guaranteed Anwar's safety [New Straits Times report]. BBC has more. AFP has additional coverage.

Under Malaysian law, sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison regardless of whether or not it was consensual. Anwar was Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister under former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad until he was fired in 1998 as the result of earlier sodomy charges of which he was initially convicted but later cleared. He only recently reentered Malaysian politics following the expiration of a ten-year ban [JURIST report] against him for unrelated corruption charges. Earlier this month the Federal Court of Malaysia ruled he could challenge the constitutionality [JURIST report] of his original dismissal from office.

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