Saturday, July 19, 2008

Malaysian Anwar in 'sodomy alibi'

Anwar Ibrahim interview with the BBC's Robin Brant
Malaysia's opposition leader has told the BBC that he has an alibi for "every minute" of the day when he is accused of sodomy with a former male aide.
Anwar Ibrahim was released on bail on Thursday after being held for 21 hours. He refused to give a DNA sample, saying it could be manipulated to frame him.
Mr Anwar says he is the victim of a personal vendetta, and has called the allegation "complete fabrication".
Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia, punishable by 20 years' imprisonment.
Mr Anwar, 60, has always strenuously denied the claim, made by a 23-year-old former aide at the end of June.
We are clear, absolutely clear on the alibi, every single minute of the day
Anwar Ibrahim
Profile: Anwar Ibrahim
He told the BBC's Robin Brant that there was no case because there was no evidence.
"You must establish a case. A case that is considered to be at least with some grounds in order to proceed. But here the case is not established," Mr Anwar said.
"We are clear, absolutely clear on the alibi, every single minute of the day."
Mr Anwar says the allegation is a set-up - a repeat of similar claims 10 years ago for which he was sacked from his post as deputy prime minister, tried and jailed.
Malaysia's Supreme Court eventually overturned the sodomy conviction against Mr Anwar and he was released in 2004 after he had served six years.
He had always strongly denied the claims, calling them a smear campaign.
Public anger
Mr Anwar says the current allegation is aimed at thwarting his popular opposition movement, which made unprecedented gains in the general election in March.
The sodomy accusation came only weeks after Mr Anwar said he was in a position to launch a challenge to the ruling coalition, with the help of government defectors.
Mr Anwar is preparing to address supporters of his three-party opposition alliance at a series of rallies this weekend.
He has ordered his supporters - who had pledged to protest - to "stay cool" but, he said, if he was charged and a trial followed he might not be able to contain public anger.
The Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi, remains under intense pressure to resign over poor election results and high fuel prices. He has said he will leave office in 2010.

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