Malaysia: Anwar Ibrahim sodomy decision a 'bleak day for justice'

The conviction of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of ‘sodomy’ should be quashed, Amnesty International said today.

A court in Malaysia overturned the acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim on politically motivated ‘sodomy’ charges. The court upheld a government appeal against a 2012 High Court decision that cleared Ibrahim of all charges, citing a lack of evidence.

Hazel Galang-Folli, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

“This is a bleak day for justice in Malaysia. Anwar Ibrahim has been consistently harassed by the authorities for years in a blatant attempt to silence one of the opposition’s most important voices and bar him from participating in elections.

“The fact that the Malaysian authorities still consider ‘sodomy’ to be a crime is deeply disturbing in itself. The government must repeal the ‘sodomy’ law, a repressive statute that enables this kind of politically motivated persecution.

“Unfortunately this fits a broader pattern of severe restrictions on the right to freedom of expression in Malaysia. Opposition politicians, human rights defenders and civil society organisations are among those that have been targeted over the past year.”

Laws criminalising consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex are contrary to international human rights law.

If Anwar Ibrahim is detained, Amnesty would consider him a prisoner of conscience.

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