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Malaysia's reformist icon Anwar freed, given royal pardon

Jailed Malaysian opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim waves to supporters as he leaves a hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia's reformist icon Anwar Ibrahim has been freed from custody after receiving a royal pardon, paving the way for a political comeback following his alliance's stunning election victory.

The 70-year-old Anwar was convicted of sodomy in 2015 in a case he said was aimed at crushing his alliance after making gains against Malaysia's long-ruling coalition government. His sentence expires June 8 but the unexpected election win of his alliance led by former leader Mahathir Mohamad in May 9 polls led to his swift release.

Anwar waved to reporters as he was whisked from a hospital Wednesday where he was recovering from a shoulder surgery. Party spokesman Fahmi Fadzil says he has been pardoned by the king.

He is prime minister-in-waiting but unlikely to take over quickly from Mahathir.

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