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Court upholds five-year jail term for Malaysia’s opposition leader

Malaysia’s highest court has upheld opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction on sodomy charges and his five-year prison sentence in a case he and his supporters have denounced as a fabrication.

The Federal Court’s judgement on Tuesday upheld a ruling by the Court of Appeal in March last year, which found the 67-year-old guilty of sodomising a former political aide.

Addressing the court, Anwar accused the panel of justices for taking part in a “political conspiracy” by Malaysia’s ruling regime.

“In bowing to the dictates of your political masters, you have become partners to the crime,” he said, according to the AFP news agency.

“You have chosen to be on the dark side.”

He shouted at the judges as they exited: “I will not be silenced! I will never surrender!”

A statement by the Malaysian government said on Tuesday: “The judges will have reached their verdict only after considering all the evidence in a balanced and objective manner. Malaysia has an independent judiciary, and there have been many rulings against senior government figures.”

Hee Loy Sian, a fellow MP from Anwar’s party, told Al Jazeera that the opposition People’s Justice Party will meet in a few hours to decide on its next steps following the judgment.

“I am very sad. It is sad for all of Malaysia. I was quite surprised. I thought Anwar would be freed today,” he said.

“It is an injustice. There are some political influences. There is no independence of the judiciary. It is a black history for Malaysia. How can the leader of the opposition be jailed?”

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