Malaysia has rejected a petition seeking a royal pardon for jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving a five-year prison term for sodomy, his lawyers said on Wednesday.
The petition was filed by Anwar's family in February after his sentence was upheld by Malaysia's highest court. There was no immediate comment about the ruling from Malaysia's government.
Anwar, who once posed the greatest threat to Malaysia's long-ruling coalition, was found guilty of sodomizing a former aide, a charge that he said was a politically motivated attempt to end his career.
He was head of a three-party opposition alliance that made stunning gains in the 2013 election, which for the first time raised the prospect of a genuine challenge to the coalition that has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957.
Anwar was the ruling party's rising star in the 1990s until he fell out with then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad. His family and political party have voiced concern about his health and conditions in prison since his sentence was upheld.