Malaysia’s highest court found opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim guilty on charges of sodomy in a case his supporters say was politically motivated, Reuters reported.
The ruling will likely end a political career marked by controversy.
The Federal Court’s judgment Tuesday upholds a ruling by the Court of Appeal in March last year, which found Anwar, 67, guilty of sodomizing a former political aide.
The conviction disqualifies Anwar from political office and contesting the next election, which must be held by 2018.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government has rejected any suggestion of interference in the case.
“Malaysia has an independent judiciary, and there have been many rulings against senior government figures,” a government statement, issued after the ruling, said.
“The police report against Anwar Ibrahim was brought by a private individual – Anwar’s employee and personal assistant – not by the government.”
Anwar was accompanied by his wife and children in the courtroom.
In the mid-1990s, Anwar was the ruling party’s rising star before he fell out with then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
He was sacked in 1998 and then campaigned against corruption and nepotism and led a nationwide “reformasi” (reform) protest movement.
The former deputy prime minister spent several years in prison after being convicted of corruption and an earlier sodomy charge. The latter conviction was later overturned.
The charismatic Anwar, who heads a three-party opposition alliance, has remained the greatest threat to Malaysia’s political establishment.
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