Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has won a partial victory in the first round of a grueling battle to free himself from sodomy charges he says are trumped by Prime Minister Najib Razak to destroy his political comeback.
On Thursday, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ordered the public prosecutor to allow Anwar’s legal team access to most of the key evidence it needs to prepare his defence but it stopped short at vital DNA samples and video testimony.
The defence had sought a court order after the prosecution refused to furnish it with a full set of original documents, witness statements, CCTV recordings and other exhibits including DNA samples and video testimony given by the complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan to the police on June 30, 2008.
Now, based on the order granted by Judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah, it will get to inspect the CCTV recordings of the alleged crime scene, the examination notes of the doctors who attended to Saiful at the government-run Hospital Kuala Lumpur and witness statements from seven individuals.
The judge had a day ago had refused to grant Anwar more time to find a new lead counsel after his long-time lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah discharged himself due to serious illness.
Political persecution of a PM-in-waiting
The reform icon, regarded by many Malaysians as a prime minister-in-waiting, was accused of sodomising Saiful, a former staff, in June 2008.
He has pleaded not guilty and accused Najib of framing him. The charges came about as Anwar was preparing to mount his parliamentary comeback. Despite the ensuing scandal, the charismatic leader managed to win the Permatang Pauh by-election with a landslide majority.
The U.S. state department has also gone on record to say that it believes that the sodomy charges against Anwar – both in 1998 and now – were politically motivated to kill his career. If found guilty, the 61-year old Anwar can be jailed for up to 20 years.
Meanwhile, the court is also due to hear an application from Anwar to dismiss the entire prosecution team for bias because key figures involved in the current case, such as Attorney-General Gani Patail, have been named in other cases involving fabrication of evidence against him.
There is also another application to strike out the entire sodomy charge as two hospital reports – including from the government-run Hospital Kuala Lumpur – showed no evidence that Saiful had been sodomised at all.
If all his applications are dismissed, then his trial proper will begin.
FROM MALAYSIA TODAY
Now that Anwar Ibrahim’s trial has kicked off maybe it is time to recap on what happened about a year ago with regards to the allegation that Anwar had buggered Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Malaysia Today previously published Dr Osman’s medical report and the Statutory Declaration that followed it and the police subsequently raided my house and called me in for interrogation wanting to know how I managed to get my hands on these documents.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
SEE THE VIDEOS HERE
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By Wong Choon Mei [Updated]
It has been a year since Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused by the Malaysian government of sodomising a staff, but until now, he says Prime Minister Najib Razak’s regime has refused to furnish him with any information on the charges filed against him, including even the most basic police report.
With his trial due to start on July 1, the reform icon has been forced to apply for a High Court order to get the prosecution to provide him with documents pertaining to his sodomy case before hearing begins.
According to his lawyer Sankara Nair, the withholding of the crucial information was to “deprive and or conceal from our client the evidence that is favourable to him in his defence”.
It also prevented Anwar from checking and verifying the veracity and authenticity of the original DNA and other samples.
“This is to deny our client a fair trial,” Sankara said in a statement, adding that prosecutor’s actions showed that he “has much to hide”.
Persecuted like Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi
The former deputy premier, who is now the de-facto head of opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat, has already pleaded not guilty.
The slim 61-year old leader was charged with sodomising his former personal aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a strapping 23-year old, at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium between 3.01 pm and 4.30 pm on June 26, last year.
Anwar has counter-accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of fabricating the case against him.
The US State Department too has gone record to say that they believe Anwar was framed to tarnishing his political image and credibility.
Like Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Anwar is a democracy icon and has been persecuted for challenging the corrupt Umno-BN regime led by Najib, who has resorted to police crackdowns and sham trials to cling to power.
“This action is an abuse, frivolous, unjust and tantamount to a political persecution. As such, in the name of justice, we again called upon the public prosecutor to withdraw the charge against our client with immediate effect,” said Sankara.
In the court notice filed on Wednesday, Anwar wants the documents to reach him before the July 1 to 24 trial begins.
He has asked for the original CCTV recordings alleged to have been taken at Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setia Kasih, Bukit Damansara between June 25 to 27, 2008, DNA samples, statements from witnesses including the complainant, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, police statements and several other documents.
Naming the public prosecutor as respondent, Anwar also applied to the court to acquit and free him immediately if the government could not comply. Otherwise, the court should suspend proceedings on his sodomy case permanently, he said.