Malaysian leader denies sodomy, seeks refuge (Lead)

June 29th, 2008 - 7:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 29 (DPA) Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Sunday denied sodomy charges lodged by a former aide as a “complete fabrication”, but later sought refuge at the Turkish embassy for security reasons, said family members and supporters. A former aide, aged in his 20s, filed a police report late Saturday claiming that Anwar had sodomised him in his apartment Thursday.

Anwar’s wife and president of the People’s Justice Party, Wan Azizah Ismail said Anwar had received death threats shortly after issuing a statement refuting the charges against him.

Party members have said he is seeking protection at the Turkish embassy following the threats.

Anwar, who led the opposition to major gains in the recent March 8 elections, claimed the report was a “desperate attempt” to prevent him from exposing the national police chief and the attorney general for their alleged role in the 1998 charges of corruption and sodomy against him.

“The police report lodged against me earlier (Saturday) is a complete fabrication. I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress,” Anwar said in a statement.

“This is clearly a desperate attempt by the regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice,” the 60-year-old former deputy prime minister said.

Anwar said Sunday that he had evidence implicating Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney General Gani Patail of misconduct and fabricating evidence against him.

“This vile attack will not prevent me from releasing this dossier to the public,” he said.

A police spokesman said Anwar will likely be called for questioning and to give a statement on the report.

Lim Kit Siang, leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party, said in his blog that he had spoken to Anwar earlier Sunday, adding that the former deputy premier was “expecting the worst”.

Sodomy is punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment in the predominantly Muslim country.

Former premier Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar 10 years ago amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. He was convicted on both charges, but the sodomy conviction was subsequently overturned and he was released from prison in 2004.

Anwar has maintained the sodomy and corruption charges were trumped up.

Analysts have said the sodomy charges could cause a ripple in the political efforts of Anwar and the opposition alliance.

During the March 8 elections, the governing National Front coalition lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority, and lost control of five of Malaysia’s 13 states to Anwar’s three-party opposition alliance.

Anwar did not run in the elections because his corruption conviction barred him from holding political office for five years.

The ban ended in April, and Anwar has since indicated he wants to stand in a by-election for parliament.

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