Anwar Appeals for Fair Verdict
Associated Press, July 18, 2000
By Sean Yoong, Associated Press Writer
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim ended his
yearlong trial for sodomy Tuesday with a plea to the judge to render a fair verdict in the
case, which Anwar once more contended was part of conspiracy to destroy him.
"We must be guided by the law, evidence and dictates of our conscience,"
Anwar, Malaysias former deputy prime minister, told High Court Judge Ariffin Jaka.
Ariffin, who throughout the trial has been rejected Anwars conspiracy arguments,
replied: "I will judge this case from the evidence, as I perceive it, so dont
worry. I am not easily swayed. Being a Muslim, I am answerable in the next world."
"Now, my headache starts," remarked Ariffin, and he set an Aug. 4 date to
deliver his verdict.
Anwar wrapped up his own closing arguments, which he began Monday, contending that the
sodomy charges against him were part of a political conspiracy to eliminate him as a rival
to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Azizah Ismail, Anwars wife and leader of the National Justice Party that was
founded on his calls for national reform, said it was unlikely that street protests would
erupt when the verdict is announced, as they did when Anwar was arrested two years ago.
"We might not see any demonstrations on that day," Azizah said. "People
will choose to support my husband in spirit."
Anwar was heir apparent to Mahathir when he was abruptly sacked in September 1998, then
jailed on charges of corruption and sodomy. Anwar is already serving six years in prison
for a corruption conviction and faces 20 more if found guilty of sodomizing his former
Anwar, 52, is accused of sodomizing Azizan Abu Bakar in early 1993 at an apartment
owned by Anwars adopted brother, Sukma Dermawan. Prosecutors relied almost entirely
on Azizans testimony.
Anwar attacked the prosecution for building a case without corroboration and called
Mahathir, who marked 19 years in power Sunday, the "maestro in the entire
"Ive contended that there was adequate motive to keep me dismissed and
charged and convicted," Anwar said.
"I did not go to the apartment between January and March 1993," Anwar
declared. "Secondly, I did not commit the offense as alleged. No evidence was ever
adduced by the prosecution that I was ever seen at that place. Where are the
The references to a conspiracy drew interruptions from the judge, who stopped taking
notes. "You said that," Ariffin interjected at one point. "We all know
Differences between Mahathir and Anwar became open during the Asian economic crisis,
which erupted in 1997. A year later, they had grown so wide that Mahathir fired him.
Anwar gained sympathy when the sacking was followed by criminal charges and a beating
by the national police chief. Street protest has died out, but a new opposition coalition
made gains against Mahathirs National Front in parliamentary elections last year.
However, the National Front kept power and the biggest victor among the opposition
group was not the Justice party but the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which promotes a more
Muslim fundamentalist state.
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