Malaysian gay activists challenge gov't in court
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian gay rights activists have launched a legal challenge against a police ban on an arts festival aimed at curbing homophobia.
The case highlights complaints about discrimination against gays at a time when international rights groups are urging authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia to abolish laws criminalizing same-sex relations.
The acquittal this week of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomizing a male former aide prompted Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to criticize the Malaysian government for insisting on laws that make sodomy punishable by 20-year prison sentences.
Organizers of a "Sexual Independence" festival held annually in Malaysia since 2008 filed a petition in the High Court on Tuesday in hopes of overturning a ban imposed last year on the event.