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Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim Sentenced to Nine Years

Former Deputy Prime Minister Accused of Sodomy

Judge Ariffin Jaka: 'You Committed Despicable Acts'

By Jack Nichols

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—The charges against and the subsequent convictions of former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, 52 and his brother Sukma Darmawan, 39, for supposed acts of sodomy with a family chauffeur, Azizan Abu Bakar, are widely regarded here as politically motivated.

The brothers have been sentenced to prison for nine and for six years, respectively.
malaysialeaders.jpg - 5.77 K Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohammed (left) and Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim's popularity among voters became a matter of concern to his former boss and political mentor, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who, many believe, became infuriated when, in September 1998, he and his protégé disagreed on matters of economic policy.

The former Deputy Prime Minister had earlier been found to have been beaten by police while in their custody. Mr. Anwar's wife, a physician, examined her husband's wounds, making public her findings. Infuriated, Malaysians organized large pro-Anwar demonstrations. Such demonstrations have now been forbidden.

The trials of Anwar Ibrahim have been marked by an unwillingness on the part of the judiciary to allow close public scrutiny. Because Mr. Anwar is 52, he has been spared caning which nevertheless, has become the fate of his 39-year old brother sentenced also to receive four strokes of a rattan cane.

Prior to his sentencing Mr. Anwar accused Dr. Mahathir of orchestrating a conspiracy to destroy him, "Dr. Mahathir's lust for power is insatiable," he told the protesting judge, "He will lie and force others to lie."

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:

Malaysia: Former Deputy Premier in Sodomy Scandal

Malaysia's Anwar Pleads Not Guilty to Sodomy Charges

Malaysian Sodomy Trial Update

Related Sites:
Gay Malaysia Guide

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The former Deputy Prime Minister denounced Malaysia's judiciary too, saying it had demeaned itself by its unlawful adherence to the Prime Minister's plan. "Bloody, rotten judiciary!", he exclaimed.

Judge Ariffin Jaka accused Mr. Anwar of committing "despicable acts in our society," and said that he was deserving of the "utmost condemnation."

Malaysia's government is said to be already braced for an expected show of dissatisfaction. Some opposition political leaders are calling Mr. Anwar's sentence unduly "harsh" and are predicting widespread unrest among his many supporters.

Chandra Muzaffar, the deputy president of the National Justice Party, said:

"This is going to sustain the opposition movement to Dr. Mahathir. People are going to see it as another example of Mahathir's cruelty."

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