Anwar Ibrahim, ex-finance Minister of Malaysia, has been accused of sodomising his 23 year old assistant.

Police are investigating the former deputy premier for sodomy charges filed last week by his aide; mirroring similar charges that led to a six year jail sentence back in 1998.

The former Finance Minister was first accused of being gay ten years ago by the then-Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, and was subsequently fired from the cabinet for challenging his authority.

This new allegation of sexual assault surfaced just as Ibrahim planned to lead hundreds of his supporters to a Kuala Lumpur police station to file a report claiming that the charges laid against him in 1998 were fabricated.

The 60 year old Anwar Ibrahim – who took refuge in the Turkish embassy for 36 hours until Monday night, fearing for his security – said the new allegation was a conspiracy to thwart his return to parliament. Ibrahim’s lawyers have filed a defamation suit against his accuser, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, and claim the aide was planted in Ibrahim’s political party by people close to the ruling party, The National Front.

Human rights groups claim that the original charges stating that Ibrahim had anal sex with his brother, his driver and his speechwriter were untrue, and were used as a smear-campaign to stop him from succeeding to the prime ministerial role.

The Malaysian penal code prohibits any form of sodomy, with punishments including whipping, fines and up to 20 years in prison. Certain Malaysian states have also adopted the death penalty for such crimes.

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