Saturday, July 12, 2008

Syariah experts dispute Anwar's charge

July 12, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - TWO syariah law experts have questioned the charge of wrongful accusation filed by Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim against his former aide.

On Wednesday, Mr Anwar had filed a complaint with the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department claiming that Mr Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, who had accused him of sodomising him, had committed the offence of qazaf (false accusation), and challenged him to produce four witnesses to prove his allegation.

Syariah lawyer Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, who is the president of the Syariah Lawyers Association, said the syariah penal code does not state that zina (fornication) includes sodomy.

He added that an individual would be committing qazaf only when he claims that 'someone else' had committed zina.

'This means that Mohd Saiful would have had to accuse Mr Anwar and someone else, not Mr Anwar and himself, of zina,' he said.

Another syariah expert, Dr Siti Zubaidah Ismail, said that even if the case goes to trial, Mr Saiful does not need to produce four witnesses.

'In Malaysian syariah, you need four witnesses only if you accuse someone of zina but not of liwat (sodomy),' she was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

'Mohd Saiful can bring whatever evidence he has as long as it fulfils the rules of evidence.'

Dr Siti Zubaidah, who heads Universiti Malaya's syariah law department, added: 'The burden of proof would be on Anwar as he has to prove that Saiful's accusations are false.'

[Just to complete the previous entry on this matter. So we know that Syaria Law isn't as dumb as Mr Anwar seems to make it out to be.]

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