Malaysia`s Anwar loses second bid to dismiss trial judge

Malaysian leader has lost his 2nd bid to get the judge presiding over his sodomy trial dismissed.

Last Updated: Dec 06, 2010, 14:48 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian opposition leader
Anwar Ibrahim Monday lost his second bid to have the judge
presiding over his sodomy trial disqualified for bias.

The decision was yet another legal setback for Anwar, who
faces 20 years imprisonment if convicted of having illicit sex
with a young aide who worked in his office.

The 63-year-old opposition leader, who has denied the
charges and said he is the victim of a political conspiracy,
said he was not surprised that Judge Zabidin Mohamed Diah
rejected the application.

"I expected the decision, but there was no clear reason
for the judge`s decision. Certainly I will appeal," he told
AFP.

"Of course they want to put me behind bars but we are
asking for a fair trial," he said.

"I`m resigned to the fact that I`m dealing with a very
oppressive system. It does not disturb me. They do not respect
the rule of law."

The bias charges related to a row between the judge and
Anwar`s lead counsel over the defence`s attempts to gain information relating to the trial.
Anwar also lost an earlier bid to disqualify the judge
after he refused to take action against government-linked
media for trial coverage which the defence said was
prejudicial.

The opposition leader, a former deputy premier who was
sacked and jailed on separate sodomy and corruption counts a
decade ago, has lost a series of applications including bids
to gain access to medical reports and video footage.
Human Rights Watch has urged Malaysia to drop the
charges, condemning the case as a "charade of justice," and
the United States has previously warned it is watching the
saga closely.

After talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
last month, Foreign Minister Anifah Aman pledged Anwar would
receive a fair trial.

PTI