PUTRAJAYA, FEB 10 – The Federal Court today upheld the conviction of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008. Anwar faces five years’ imprisonment, a sentence that will effectively put an end to his four-decade long and often controversial political career. Anwar who looked calm was seen kissing and hugging his grandchildren from the dock.
His daughters were crying and wiping their tears as they gathered around Anwar while Nurul Izzah remained calm. “I am alright,” Anwar said as he hugged his supporters in court and shook hands with his lead counsel Datuk Gopal Sri Ram and other counsels. The verdict brings to a close a seven-year court saga, marked by multiple delays, drama and political intrigue. Over the years, Anwar, who maintained that the charges against him were a political conspiracy, has led a nationwide campaign in his defence, which ended yesterday with a gathering of about 2,000 people at Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya.
Anwar was originally acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 9, 2012 of committing unnatural carnal intercourse against Saiful, 27, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara between 3.10pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008. In the 80-page written judgment, Justice Mohamad Zabidin revealed there was penile penetration but it was uncorroborated by other evidence. The court also ruled that DNA samples collected as evidence could have been compromised before they reached the Chemistry Department for analysis.
The Court of Appeal reversed the acquittal on March 7 last year and sentenced him to five years’ jail, ruling that the lower court had erred in its finding that the integrity of the DNA samples in the case was compromised. The ruling also meant that Anwar could not file his nomination papers for the Kajang state seat by-election on March 10. Today’s verdict marks the second time the PKR de facto leader has been convicted of sodomy. In Aug 2000, he was sentenced by the High Court to nine years’ jail for sodomising his family’s driver, Azizan Abu Bakar at Tivoli Villa in Bangsar. The conviction was overturned in 2004.