Malaysia drops sex assault probe of PM-in-waiting Anwar

Anwar Ibrahim was first thrown in jail in the 1990s after being sacked from his position in government by Mahathir Mohamad. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Malaysia drops sex assault probe of PM-in-waiting Anwar

  • Anwar Ibrahim was first thrown in jail in the 1990s after being sacked from his position in government by Mahathir Mohamad

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim will not face charges over claims he sexually assaulted a male former aide, prosecutors said Tuesday, the latest such scandal to tarnish the veteran politician’s career.
Muhammed Yusoff Rawther last month accused Anwar of trying to force him to have sex and filed a police complaint, but officials said there was not enough evidence to make a criminal case.
Anwar, seen as the likely successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, spent almost a decade in jail after being convicted of sodomizing a young male aide, allegations that supporters say were aimed at ruining his political career.
Sex between men remains illegal under colonial-era laws in the Muslim-majority country.
Anwar was released from prison and pardoned in 2018 after his alliance stormed to a shock victory against a corruption-plagued coalition that had ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1957.
But political tensions have escalated sharply, with Anwar’s nemesis-turned-ally Mahathir refusing to say when he will hand over power, and vicious infighting erupting in his People’s Justice Party (PKR).
After completing investigations, the attorney-general’s office said “insufficient evidence” and “contradictions of material facts” meant they would not proceed with a prosecution.
“We agree with the recommendation of (the police) that the case be closed,” said solicitor-general Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek in a statement.
Neither Anwar — who denied the allegations — nor Yusoff were named in the statement but it was widely reported to refer to the case.
Anwar was first thrown in jail in the 1990s after being sacked from his position in government by Mahathir, who was in his first stint as premier at the time, and their stormy relationship has loomed over Malaysian politics ever since.
In 2015, he was jailed for a second time on sodomy charges and only released after last year’s elections.
Mahathir and Anwar reconciled ahead of the polls in a bid to oust the scandal-mired Barisan Nasional coalition of then premier Najib Razak.


UK, German police have new suspect in 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Updated 7 min 8 sec ago

UK, German police have new suspect in 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann

  • McCann disappeared from her bedroom on May 3 during a family holiday
  • Her fate remains a mystery despite huge international publicity which prompted reported sightings from across the world

LONDON: British and German police said on Wednesday they had a new suspect in the 2007 disappearance in Portugal of three-year-old Madeleine McCann and appealed for information about a German man currently imprisoned in Germany for sexual assault offenses.
McCann, who is British, disappeared from her bedroom on May 3 during a family holiday in the Algarve while her parents were dining with friends nearby in the resort of Praia da Luz.
Her fate remains a mystery despite huge international publicity which prompted reported sightings from across the world.
Police want to speak to anyone who has relevant information on the 43-year old man, whom they did not name, or the movements of two vehicles linked to him during the period around the girl’s disappearance. Both cars, a Volkswagen camper van and a Jaguar, are now in the possession of German police.
German police said they were treating the case as a suspected murder and had determined the method used to kill McCann. They did not believe the murder was pre-meditated and said the man was involved in crimes like break-ins and burglary.
British police are still treating the case as a missing person and described Wednesday’s appeal as a “significant development.”
They also asked for anyone who was familiar with two Portuguese phone numbers to come forward. One of the phones was used by the suspect, and received a 30 minute phone call from the second number whilst in the Praia da Luz area on the night of the disappearance, shortly before McCann was last seen.
“More than 13 years have passed, and your loyalties may have changed. This individual is in prison ... now is the time to come forward,” said British senior investigating officer Mark Cranwell.