News / Asia

    Malaysian Opposition Leader Intends to Call PM to Testify in Sodomy Trial

    Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister, describes the case as a 'conspiracy' to end his political career

    Multimedia

    Audio

    In Malaysia, the politically charged trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy has begun.  The former deputy prime minister maintains the case is a conspiracy to end his political career. 

    Lawyers for Anwar Ibrahim's said they intend to call Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife as witnesses.  They accuse the couple of taking part in a conspiracy to end Anwar's political career.

    Reporters, legal observers, and diplomats from the United States, Japan and European nations packed the courtroom for the opening day of the trial.

    In March of 2008 Anwar lead an opposition alliance, which won a third of the parliamentary seats in the general elections.  Five months later he was charged with sodomizing a 25-year-old male former aide.  Anwar denies the charges.

    This is the second time Anwar has been charged with this crime. He spent six years in prison after being convicted of sodomy and corruption, following his ouster from the cabinet in 1998 during a power struggle with then leader Mahathir Mohamad.  He maintained his innocence all along and was freed in 2004 when Malaysia's top court overturned the sodomy conviction.

    Political science professor James Chin, of the Monash University in Malaysia, says even if he is not convicted, the repeated charges of sodomy could hurt Anwar politically. 

    "Sodomy is such a serious offense in a Muslim community," Chin said. "By charging him again with sodomy you simply reinforce the image that this guy is involved with other men."

    A conviction could result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years.  It also would bar Anwar from politics for five years from the date of his release. Defense lawyers say the trial could drag on for eight months.  Chin says the National Front coalition government wants the trial to last a long time. 

    "I think the general consensus among the educated and middle class in Malaysia is that this is a politically motivated trial [and] the ruling party will try to drag it out as long as possible simply because they want to distract Anwar from using a stronger opposition," Chin said.  

    But the trial could also stain Malaysia's long-held image as a moderate Muslim-majority nation.  In addition to this highly publicized trial, in the past few months there have been fire bombings and vandalism of churches and mosques over a religious dispute and a young woman was sentence to caning for drinking beer.  

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora