Court upholds Anwar Ibrahim's conviction
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he was the victim of a "political conspiracy" yesterday as the nation's highest court sent him to jail for five years on a sodomy conviction that will likely end his career.
Anwar had challenged a conviction handed down last year for sodomising a young male former aide, but the Federal Court struck down his appeal, saying there was "overwhelming evidence" of the crime.
The decision was sharply criticised by the United States, Australia and human rights organisations.
Sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Muslim-majority Malaysia. Anwar was taken from the court in the afternoon to begin his sentence.
Government critics call the case part of a long-running campaign to destroy Anwar, a former deputy premier who was ousted from the ruling party in the late 1990s and later helped unite a previously divided and hapless opposition into a formidable force.
Anwar is now 67. Even if freed early, he is barred from politics for five years after his release, making another comeback unlikely.