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Malaysian Police to Formally Charge Anwar with Sodomy

Authorities will formally charge Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim with sodomy during a court appearance Thursday.

Anwar received a letter Wednesday ordering him to appear in court. He is accused of having sexual relations with a former male aide.

Speaking to reporters after receiving the summons, Anwar accused Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of personally ordering the charges. Anwar faces a 20 year prison sentence if convicted.

The former deputy prime minister was forced out of the government in 1998 after he was accused of corruption and sodomy. He spent six years in jail, but was released in 2004 after a court threw out the sodomy charge.

Anwar is running in a by-election for his old parliamentary seat in northern Penang state. The Election Commission announced earlier Wednesday the vote will be held on August 26.

Anwar leads a three-party coalition that ended the ruling National Front coalition's two-thirds majority control of parliament in March elections. The coalition is 30 seats away from a simple majority of the 222-seat Parliament.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.