Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar arrested on sodomy charges

July 16th, 2008 - 6:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 16 (DPA) Malaysian police Wednesday detained opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on charges of sodomy. Anwar was arrested at his home soon after he testified to the Anti-Corruption Agency on his allegations that the country’s police chief and attorney general had fabricated evidence against him in 1998.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was preparing to respond to recent sodomy charges filed against him by a former aide when police officers entered his home and detained him, a spokesman from his opposition National Justice Party said.

Supporters were urged to “remain calm and gather at the police station to lend our support,” a statement on the party’s website said.

Anwar was not handcuffed when he was brought to the police station, his lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah said.

Anwar’s family said it was unclear why the police arrested him as he had agreed to comply with their demands that he respond to the charges Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s a feeling of deja vu with what happened 10 years ago,” said his wife and lawmaker Wan Azizah Ismail.

“We’d already given our assurance that he would be at the police headquarters at 2 p.m.,” she said.

Wan Azizah said Anwar called her from the police car after he was detained.

A police spokesman said Anwar was detained to assist in investigations for alleged “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

Bakri Zinin, head of the city’s criminal investigations, said Anwar was arrested because police believed he would not show up to give his statement willingly.

“We wish to point out that Anwar had initially agreed to meet us Monday but he failed to,” Bakri told reporters.

Anwar said earlier he refused to give his statement on Monday out of protest. He claimed police officers had harassed and intimidated family members over the weekend.

Anwar can be held for up to 14 days, when police must either charge him or release him, according to Malaysian law.

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