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Malaysia appeals court dismisses former opposition leader's defamation suit

[JURIST] A Malaysian appeals court on Tuesday rejected a defamation suit filed by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim [official profile; JURIST news archive] against former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad [BBC profile]. The suit, which alleged defamation in connection with allegations that Anwar is a homosexual, was dismissed [AFP report] by the appeals court after Mahathir's lawyers complained that the appeal was written in English rather than Bahasa Malaysia, the country's official language. Anwar is now considering an appeal to the Federal Court, Malaysia's highest court.

Anwar's appeal comes after his 2007 defamation suit was rejected by the High Court [JURIST reports]. Anwar filed that suit after Mahathir allegedly suggested at a human rights conference in 2006 that Anwar was unfit for office because of his supposed homosexuality. Anwar had previously sued Mahathir for defamation in 1999 but the case was rejected at the time as "unsustainable." Anwar was dismissed from office in 1998 over financial policy disagreements and has faced criminal charges [JURIST report] of corruption and sodomy.

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