Bomb blasts greet sodomy acquittal of Malaysia’s opposition leader
Explosions injure five as Anwar Ibrahim addresses crowd of supporters following his acquittal on sodomy charges by the high court in Kuala Lumpur
Three homemade bombs exploded among 4,500 supporters of pro-reform Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim, following his release on sodomy charges.
Minutes before Anwar had told the crowd: 'We must focus on the general election because we want an independent judiciary… free media and to rid the country of endemic corruption'. His freedom brings Anwar closer to wining the next general election, likely to be held this year.
In the conclusion of a two-year trial, the charge of sodomy was thrown out by the judge on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar's 26-year-old former aide accused the politician of having sex with him in a Kuala Lumpur apartment in 2008. Defence lawyers argued that Saiful's story was inconsistent and the DNA evidence, semen samples found on Saiful's body, was tainted by the police.
Anwar said throughout the trial that the charges were part of a dirty tricks campaign to discredit him by the ruling party, the National Front alliance. Following the verdict, the government released a statement saying the case shows that Malaysia's legal system is fair and independent.
Malaysia has some of the strictest laws against homosexuality in Asia. Sex between men is illegal even if it is consensual. Punishments under Islamic law include whipping and up to twenty years in prison, but these are rarely enforced.