Anwar faces detention for no-show at sodomy charge probe

July 15th, 2008 - 12:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 15 (IANS) Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could be arrested for not appearing before the police in connection with the probe into charges of sodomy case against him. Ibrahim’s no-show at the city police headquarters on Monday to have his statement recorded could result in a warrant of arrest being issued against him, criminal lawyers told the New Straits Times.

Ibrahim could also be charged for disobeying an order from a public servant, an offence punishable with jail and a fine.

His lawyers, however, say, he is not liable to appear before the police.

Ibrahim’s political aide Mohammed Saiful Bukhari Azlan has charged him with sodomy — the same charge that caused Ibrahim’s downfall as Malaysia’s deputy prime minister 10 years ago.

Ibrahim was sacked, prosecuted and underwent a jail term. A court later acquitted him.

Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Bakri Zinin told media that Ibrahim had been notified as per law.

Media reports on Tuesday said a notice had been left at the guardroom of his house. But his daughter refused to accept it.

“We have several options now,” said Bakri without elaborating.

Lawyers said police must strictly follow the Criminal Procedure Code if Anwar failed to turn up to give a statement.

“The investigating officer will have to give reasons to the magistrate to obtain the warrant,” said lawyer Datuk V. Sithambaram.

Ibrahim’s lawyer Sankara N. Nair said Ibrahim was not obliged since “the police left the notice at the guardhouse (on Sunday) when Anwar’s daughter refused to accept it”.

“The notice clearly reads that it should only be served to the addressee. It would be lawfully wrong if the daughter were to accept the notice on her father’s behalf,” said the lawyer.

Nair said Ibrahim had no problem with having his statement being recorded by the police and was willing to cooperate.

Ibrahim’s wife and opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail told media in the parliament lobby that only her children were at home when 15 policemen served an order on Sunday.

Accused of organising a protest rally, Ibrahim was banned from entering parliament complex on a day a no-confidence motion moved by his wife against the government was to be taken up.

Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected the motion that was not taken up in the house.

Wan Ismail said this “intimidation” of her children was why Ibrahim refused to go to the city police headquarters yesterday.

“We were in Penang at the time and only my children were at home. Their act was akin to intimidating my children. I can’t understand the need to send 15 officers to my home just to serve the order,” she said.

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