Anwar Charged with Sodomy
September 30, 1998
Beaten and brought to court under heavy guard, Malaysias pro-reform ex-No. 2 man
could get 20 yrs. and be whipped for dubious sex charges, while demonstrations and arrests
A convoy of police vehicles brought Malaysias former deputy prime minister Anwar
Ibrahim to a Kuala Lumpur courtroom September 29 to be formally charged with four counts
of sodomy and five of corruption. Anwar, jailed since September 20 under the Internal
Security Act, pleaded not guilty to all counts; a tenth count, also on sex charges, is
expected to be brought shortly in a different courtroom. The maximum penalty for the
sodomy charges is 20 years imprisonment and whipping, according to an attorney in an
interview with Reuters; the attorney did not know the maximum punishment for the
At prosecutors request, the trial was moved from the sessions court to the High
Court. Anwars bail request will also be heard there, but Prime Minister Mahathir
Mohamad has already told the parliament that Anwars detention will continue, lest he
"incite" still more of the large demonstrations which have taken place even
while he has been in custody.
Anwar showed bruises and scars one of his lawyers said resulted from beatings from
police, beginning while he was still handcuffed and blindfolded. The attorney says
Anwars repeated requests for medical attention were denied until the fifth day, when
a police doctor treated him. Requesting an independent medical examination, Anwar told the
court he fears for his life.
Although hundreds of riot police surrounded the courthouse to prevent Anwars
supporters from gathering, his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and at least two of their six
children arrived at the courthouse soon after Anwar.
Sixteen of Anwars supporters have also been jailed, and more than 150 people have
been arrested in the series of demonstrations since his detention. One of 60 arrested on
Monday was Tien Chua, chair of the Coalition for Peoples Democracy, a group of 18
organizations including opposition political parties, even though the Coalition had
cancelled its planned September 28 launch event, reportedly under police pressure.
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