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Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer to be charged with sedition

Anwar Ibrahim's lawyer, N Surendran, will be charged in court on Tuesday (Aug 19) with sedition after saying that the second sodomy case against the Malaysian opposition leader was a political conspiracy involving Prime Minister Najib Razak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim's lawyer, N Surendran, will be charged in court on Tuesday (Aug 19) with sedition after saying that the second sodomy case against the Malaysian opposition leader was a political conspiracy involving Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Surendran, who is also vice-president of the People’s Justice Party (Parti Keadilan Rakyat), was released on police bail in connection with a warrant of arrest issued on Monday afternoon (Aug 18).

Kuala Lumpur deputy CID chief ACP Khairi Ahrasa said Surendran surrendered at Wangsa Maju police headquarters at 7.52pm accompanied by his lawyer Latheefah Koya. "Surendran has been released on police bail to appear in a Kuala Lumpur court in Jalan Duta at 8.30am on Tuesday to be charged under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948," she said when contacted.

Surendran, when met after his release, said the charge against him in a Kuala Lumpur court on Tuesday would not affect his task as Anwar's lawyer in the second sodomy case appeal expected to take place in October. "I strongly protest this charge. We will continue to fight for a better Malaysia," he added. 

Anwar's legal battles have gripped Malaysian politics for nearly two decades. A one-time rising star in the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), he was ousted in a bruising late-1990s power struggle, and convicted and jailed on an earlier, separate sodomy charge, which he also said was false.

In the current case, Anwar political aide Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan accused the opposition leader of sodomising him in 2008. The allegation came shortly after Anwar led opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat to historic electoral gains that rocked the UMNO establishment.

A lower court found Anwar not guilty in 2012, but an appeals court sensationally overturned that verdict in March, drawing international criticism. Adding to Anwar's troubles, Saiful in June filed a civil lawsuit against Anwar over the sodomy case, seeking RM50 million (S$20 million) in damages.

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