Anwar loses bid to confirm affair claim

(AP) – A Malaysian judge rejected opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s bid to force the man who accused him of sodomy to testify whether he had an affair with a female prosecutor in the continuing trial.

The hearings have been on hold since an opposition-linked activist claimed last month that Farah Azlina Latif, a young attorney for the prosecution, had a recent affair with Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar’s 25-year-old male former aide. Neither Saiful nor Farah has directly responded to the allegation.

Anwar faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomizing Saiful. He insists the government fabricated the charge in 2008 to sideline him after his opposition alliance made unprecedented electoral gains. Government authorities deny conspiring against Anwar.

Anwar’s top lawyer, Karpal Singh, urged the High Court on Monday to make both Saiful and Farah testify about the alleged affair. The defense team claims Farah might have leaked confidential information to Saiful, who should not have access to prosecution strategies.

“Without their evidence, the court will not be able to elicit the truth,” Singh said. “The integrity and partiality of this entire trial is in question.”

High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah dismissed the application, saying it was “not relevant”.

Prosecution lawyers argued that Farah had been a junior member of the team and never had important documents in her possession.

Malaysia’s attorney general ordered Farah removed from the case last month. He said although there was no proof to support the claim of an affair, the move would protect the prosecution’s credibility.

This is the second time Anwar has been accused of sodomy, a crime in this Muslim-majority country. He was imprisoned for six years starting in 1998 for sodomy and corruption. The sodomy conviction was later overturned.