A Malaysian court today rejected Anwar Ibrahim's bid to stop his sodomy trial from going forward, dealing another blow to the opposition leader's fluctuating fortunes since he achieved spectacular election results last year.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court denied Mr Anwar's application to have the case thrown out before it is heard in court, and set the trial date for January 25.
Mr Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair said he will appeal against the decision in the Appeal Court.
"I didn't expect anything different," Mr Anwar, 62, told reporters after the ruling by Justice Mohamad Zabidin Diah.
"The manner in which the case is proceeding seems worrying. I think we are in for a tough battle but we have compelling arguments. We have facts."
Mr Anwar's previous legal attempts to stop the trial have also failed.
Mr Anwar was charged in August 2008 with allegedly sodomising a 24-year-old male former aide. He has denied the charge.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sodomy, a crime in the Muslim-majority country.
A medical examination of the aide conducted after the alleged sodomy showed no conclusive evidence of penetration.
Therefore, Mr Anwar's lawyers argued, trying him for sodomy would be tantamount to abusing the justice system.
Mohamad Zabidin, however, rejected the argument, saying the prosecution might have other witnesses or evidence to prove its case. He also rejected the defence argument that the case was a "malicious prosecution".
It is the second time that Mr Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, has been accused of sodomy.
He spent six years in prison between 1998 and 2004 after being convicted of corruption and of sodomising his former family driver. Mr Anwar insisted he had been framed and was freed when Malaysia's top court overturned the sodomy conviction.
Mr Anwar maintains that the new sodomy charge is part of a government conspiracy to undermine his three-party opposition alliance, which made massive gains in the March 2008 general elections. Government officials have denied any plot against Mr Anwar.