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Malaysia authorities issue arrest warrant for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim

[JURIST] Malaysian authorities have issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] following his failure to appear at a Malaysian police station to give a statement regarding sodomy allegations [JURIST report] made against him by a former aide. According to police, Ibrahim had been scheduled to appear at the Kuala Lumpur Police Headquarters Monday at 2:00 PM to make the statement, but Anwar's lawyer asserted [Anwar blog post] he had been told the deadline would be Wednesday at 2:00 PM. The lawyer indicated that Anwar intends to comply with the government's request, and that he will give a statement Wednesday morning to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency [official website]. AP has more. From Malaysia, the Daily Star has local coverage.

Anwar has claimed that the sodomy allegations leveled against him are politically motivated, and filed a lawsuit against his accuser [JURIST report] in late June. Under Malaysian law, sodomy is punishable by 20 years in prison regardless of consent. Anwar was Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister under former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad [BBC profile] until he was fired in 1998 following earlier sodomy charges of which he was initially convicted but later acquitted. 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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