Markus Löning, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, made the following statement today (9 January) in response to the news that Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been acquitted:
“I am extremely pleased that Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was acquitted in Kuala Lumpur this morning of the accusation of “unnatural sexual practices”. There is reason to be doubly glad at his acquittal. Firstly, Anwar Ibrahim will now be able to continue his political activities as a free man. Secondly, the judgement has banished the doubts that previously surrounded Ibrahim’s trial as to whether it was really subject to the rule of law.
I call upon the Malaysian parliament finally to revoke the legislation which criminalizes homosexuality and thereby put an end to the state’s discrimination against sexual minorities. It is the very duty of state bodies to protect the human rights of all minorities.”
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had been accused of having homosexual relations with a 23‑year-old aide. “Unnatural practices” between persons of the same sex are punishable under the Malaysian criminal code. Had he been found guilty, Anwar Ibrahim would have faced the prospect of up to 20 years in jail as well as 5 years of exclusion from political life. Charges of homosexual relations are very rare in Malaysia. There have been seven cases in the last ten years, two of which were brought against Anwar Ibrahim.
The German Government sees the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality as a core human rights concern.