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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 06:47 GMT 07:47 UK
Court to allow Anwar appeal
Anwar Ibrahim in Munich, 05/09/04
Anwar Ibrahim's back operation in Munich was a success, say doctors
Malaysia's highest court has agreed to review a corruption conviction against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.

If the conviction is overturned, it would clear his way back into politics.

Mr Anwar was freed from jail last Thursday, after a conviction for sodomy was quashed by the court.

He has already served a jail term for the corruption conviction, but will be barred from running for office for five years unless the charge is overturned.

Mr Anwar is currently in Munich, where he has just undergone successful back surgery.

He maintains he has suffered back problems ever since a police beating following his arrest in 1998.

Mr Anwar was detained just one day after the then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, his mentor-turned-rival, sacked him amid differences over the Asian economic crisis.

Freed former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim
Sept 98 - Sacked and arrested
April 99 - Jailed for six years for corruption relating to alleged sodomy
July 00 - Sentenced to further nine years for sodomy - alleged to have had sex with five men
July 2002 - Loses appeal against corruption conviction
Sept 2004 - Wins appeal against sodomy conviction

The charges against him were widely seen as politically motivated, and international human rights groups have welcomed his release after six years in jail.

Appeal granted

Soon after Mr Anwar's sodomy conviction was quashed last Thursday, his lawyers asked Malaysia's Federal Court to review its own decision, made in 2002, to refuse an appeal against the corruption conviction.

Judges agreed to hear Mr Anwar's appeal, dismissing the objections of government lawyers that a review was beyond the court's jurisdiction.

"We are of the unanimous view that we have the jurisdiction to deal with the motions filed," said Judge Malik Ahmad. "The preliminary objection is dismissed."

Mr Anwar's lawyers say a new appeal could now be heard in a matter of days.

Meanwhile Mr Anwar himself is still in Germany, recovering from an operation for a slipped disc and spinal stenosis.

The head of Mr Anwar's surgical team told the Associated Press news agency that there were no complications during the operation.

Thomas Hoogland said Mr Anwar had been given few opportunities to walk around while in prison, which had contributed to his condition.

But Mr Hoogland said: "He will by and large be fit again."

"I expect that he can do everything he is politically asked for."

The BBC's Michael Voss
"Despite spending the past six years in jail, Mr Anwar remains a potent force in Malaysian politics"

Anwar in Germany for back surgery
05 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Malaysia press relieved at Anwar release
03 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Anwar Ibrahim
02 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific

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