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Malaysian Opposition Politician Charged With Sedition

A Malaysian politician has been charged with sedition for accusing the government of helping plot the sodomy conviction against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

N. Surendran, who is one of Anwar's lawyers, is the latest opposition politician to be charged under the Sedition Act, which rights groups say is oppressive.

Surendran said in April that Prime Minister Najib Razak had conspired to help jail Anwar, who was convicted a month earlier of sodomizing a young male aide.

Anwar, who is Najib's chief rival, says the sodomy charges were made up by the government, which has been in power for the last 57 years.

The ex-deputy prime minister, who is free on appeal, says his lawyer has the right to speak about the government's alleged involvement in his case.

Human Rights Watch slammed the sedition charge. In a statement, the group said the move is "another blatant example of a draconian law being used to violate freedom of expression and silence critics."

It said Prime Minister Najib's 2012 pledge to scrap the law now has been exposed as "hollow rhetoric designed to deceive both Malaysians and the international community."

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