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Malaysia's Anwar Wins Procedural Victory in Sodomy Trial

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has won an appeal to block his sodomy trial from being moved to a higher court.

Sessions Court judge Komathy Suppiah ruled Friday that Anwar's trial should remain in her court and not be transferred to Malaysia's High Court as the country's attorney general had ordered.

Anwar and his lawyers say moving his case to the High Court would open the case up to political interference - a charge government lawyers reject.

Anwar Ibrahim is on trial for allegedly sodomizing a close aide. His arrest in June came shortly after his opposition alliance made huge gains in parliamentary elections - winning 82 seats in Malaysia's 222-member parliament.

Anwar, the father of six children, was convicted of sodomizing his former driver in 2000 and sentenced to 15 years in prison on sodomy and corruption charges. He was released in 2004 after his conviction was overturned. He has strongly maintained his innocence of both the earlier and current charges - calling them politically motivated.

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