Malaysia’s Ibrahim faces sodomy charge again (Second Lead)

June 29th, 2008 - 10:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, June 29 (IANS) Malaysia was in throes of a major political scandal Sunday as former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim took shelter in the Turkish embassy here after denying a sodomy charge - an allegation he is facing once again after a decade. His family visited him at the embassy at Jalan U Thant Sunday evening, Star Online said.

Wan Aaizah Wan Ismail, his wife and the opposition leader in parliament, said death threats also have come less than a day after an aide, who has not been named, lodged a police report alleging that Ibrahim had sodomised him last Thursday.

She said the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which the couple leads, had released pictures of the aide showing him with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s cabinet ministers and their high-ranking staff.

This, she said, was evidence of political assassination, The Star newspaper’s website said Sunday evening.

The website said the aide is being treated at a hospital here and police are awaiting the medical examination report.

However, earlier Sunday, Badawi reiterated that the government was not behind the latest allegation against Ibrahim.

Stating that he was shocked on hearing the police report lodged by Ibrahim’s aide on Saturday night, Badawi said he would leave the police to conduct investigations and to take the necessary action.

He said he or the government did not instruct the police to take any action.

For Ibrahim, it is a repeat of what he faced a decade back.

He was accused of sodomy and corruption and was sacked as the deputy prime minister and finance minister in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s government.

Ibrahim also underwent a jail term and was debarred from contesting elections.

Ibrahim, 63, “was left fighting for his political credibility, calling a press conference at 1.20 a.m. to deny allegations that he sodomised his aide,” The Star newspaper said Sunday.

Wan Ismail told media persons in the afternoon that the police report on sodomy lodged against her husband was an attempt to “assassinate” his political career.

“They could not bring him down through other ways and so made this political attempt, which is just a repeat of what had happened about 10 years ago,” NST Online said.

The legal bar on Ibrahim’s contesting an election ended in April.

The new allegation comes when he has indicated readiness to contest a by-election.

Federal CID director Mohammed Bakri Zinin said the police would conduct a thorough and fair investigation in the sodomy allegations.

Ibrahim is the de facto leader of the PKR, which also heads Malaysia’s opposition front that emerged strong with 82 seats in parliament and in control of four states in the elections in March this year.

Following this victory, Ibrahim has made several statements that many ruling coalition lawmakers were ready to join him and that the Badawi government would fall by September.

His statement denying the charge was read out Saturday by PKR’s Indian-origin vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah at the press conference.

The statement, which was also faxed to media offices, said: “The police report lodged against me today 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.”

Asked why Ibrahim was not at the press conference, Sivarasa said he was very busy attending to “too many telephone calls”.

His wife said the 23-year-old man who lodged the report at Jalan Travers police station here Thursday was a volunteer who joined to help the party during the last general election period, NST Online said Sunday.

“He came out of nowhere and offered to help us during the busy time of the campaigning. We knew little of him and no background check was done on him as he was just a volunteer,” she said.

The man alleged that he was sexually assaulted last Thursday in a luxury apartment in the city. He also alleged that it was not the first time that Ibrahim had sexually assaulted him.

Government sources said police were waiting for the medical report from the hospital before proceeding with investigations.

They also said Ibrahim was expected to be summoned by the police to have his statement recorded.

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