17 July, 2008

'Serious concerns' over Anwar's arrest ?

The trials and tribulations of Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim continue, and history seems to be repeating itself time and again in the country. Ten years after the infamous trial where he was accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of power, Anwar Ibrahim is once again being investigated for charges of sexual misconduct with a man who was a member of his party, the People's Justice Party (PKR) of Malaysia.


THE United States said on Wednesday that the arrest of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim over sodomy allegations sodomy has raised 'serious concerns.'

'We believe the detention today of prominent Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim raises serious questions and concerns,' State Department spokesman Mr Sean McCormack said in a statement.

'We urge Malaysian authorities to resolve this matter in a manner that builds confidence in the impartial rule of law in Malaysia,' he said.

Two US rights groups also expressed concerns about the arrest and hoped the investigation into the sodomy claims was not used as a political tool to silence him.

The arrest 'is of great concern to us and the international community,' said Mr Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute, and Mr Ken Wollack, president the National Democratic Institute.

They noted that the similar charge filed against him a decade ago was ultimately overturned by Malaysia's Supreme Court.

Mr Craner and Mr Wollack also questioned the timing of the current allegations amid Anwar's re-emergence on the national political scene since a ban on his involvement in politics expired in April 2008.

'We hope that the investigation into the allegation is not used as a political tool to silence an outspoken government critic,' they said.

Meanwhile, Anwar said he was the victim of a "vendetta" after spending a night in custody over sodomy allegations that threaten to destroy his ambitions of seizing power.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who has mounted a comeback after being sacked and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges a decade ago, said he was treated like a "major criminal" and subjected to an examination of his genitals.

"It appears that the events of the last few days, the nature of my unwarranted arrest, my overnight incarceration which was actually absolutely unnecessary, were an act of personal vengeance against me," he said.

Anwar said he was being targeted because of allegations he has made against Malaysia's attorney-general and chief of police over his treatment during his trial a decade ago.

"They should not use this as a personal vendetta against me."

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today jumped into the biggest debate in Malaysia and asked the million ringgit question: Can the government be so stupid and unimaginative as to use the same "ploy" it used in 1998 against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

"Surely it could come up with another story which would be more credible if it is deliberately plotting or conspiring against Anwar. The probability is that the story is the same because it is genuine.

"Is the present complainant a copycat? Hardly likely. Few would care to make public such a shameful thing as being sodomised, '' said the former prime minister, noting that certain habits die hard.

"Habitual smokers will tell you that. So will drug addicts, '' he said in his latest posting on his blog.

Prime Minister Badawi has in turn given assurances that the investigation into Anwar's case will be done fairly and Anwar will be safe. Such assurances are, however, going to be held to account by a Malaysian public that is no longer prepared to accept the irregularities of the earlier trial of Anwar in 1998. This time round, every single step of the investigation will be watched by discerning Malaysians and the wider international community, and the expansion of Malaysia's civil society and the internet means that every minute detail of the investigation will be made public.

Perhaps the only thing that can save Anwar, Badawi and Malaysia in the long run is an investigation and trial that is absolutely objective, transparent and accountable. For even the slightest hint of bias or irregularity will add credence to Anwar's claim that the accusations against him are part of a political plot to prevent him from returning to politics; a fact that was stated in his closing remarks during his televised debate where he stated that he intended to contest at a by-election soon.

For now, the ball seems to be in Anwar's court and it is he who stands to gain the most from his arrest. Whether in or out of jail, Anwar has resumed his status as martyr and public hero. While this may work in the favour of Anwar and other politicians in the country, other serious issues like economic and institutional reform have been sidelined once again. But this time it is not just Anwar and his reputation that is on trial, but also that of Malaysia and Malaysia's legal and judicial systems as well.



Press Statement by DSAI



KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA; JULY 17, 2008

On Saturday, 12-07-2008, the police came to my house to serve a Section 111 Criminal Procedure Code notice, harassing my family and demanding my presence at the IPK Kuala Lumpur (Federal Territories Police headquarters) at 2pm on Monday, 14-07-2008 despite an earlier agreement with my lawyers for me to come to the IPK on Monday 14-07-2008. On the next day, Sunday, the police also served an ex-parte court order, prohibiting me from physically being within 5 km from the Parliament on Monday 14-07-2008. As you can see, my house and the IPK KL are within 5 km radius from the parliament building. The court order effectively put me under house arrest on Monday and at the same time prevented me from going to the IPK.

On Monday, 14-07-2008, the presence of police personnel outside the compound of my house strengthened our suspicions that they would be prepared to arrest me as soon as I left the compound of my residence, on the pretext of me violating the court order. The issue here, is which order should I comply with, the ex-parte court order or the Section 111 notice from the police?

On the same day, the police through the Investigating Officer, one DSP Jude Pereira wrote and faxed to my lawyer at about 1.06pm, informing that I was required to be present at the IPK KL on Wednesday, 16-07-2008 at 2.00 pm to assist with the investigation. I conveyed my agreement to the appointment and it was communicated to the police through my solicitor, Messrs S.N Nair and Partners via telephone and letter on the same day.

On Wednesday, 16-07-2008, I was at the Anti Corruption Agency (BPR) head office to record my statement pursuant to the police report lodged by me at IPK Shah Alam on 01-07-2008, against the Attorney General Gani Patail and the Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan for their involvement in the fabrication of evidence way back in 1998. To ensure that we will be able to attend the appointment with the police at 2pm, we cut short our statement at the BPR’s office, and this fact was clearly conveyed to the BPR officers present.

At about 12.45 pm, the IO, DSP Jude Pereira called Mr Nair to confirm about our attendance and Mr. Nair confirmed that we would attend that 2pm appointment. We were about to have a quick lunch at my house before proceeding to the IPK. 5 minutes later, we were ambushed by a team of masked and heavily armed police personnel near my house.

I was arrested and brought to the IPK. I cooperated fully with the police by giving my cautioned statement from 2.30 pm to about 7.30 pm. At this particular point, the IO and the other officers handling this case were doing their job professionally. I was then given assurances by Assistant Commissioner of Police Razali and later Senior Assistant Commissioner II Khor (through my lawyer) that I would be released on police bail on the same day.

However, later on, upon my return from Kuala Lumpur General Hospotal (HKL), the IO, DSP Jude Pereira informed me and my lawyers that I will be detained and put in the police lock-up overnight for the purpose of recording a further statement in the morning.

I and my lawyers protested, giving our undertaking that we will be back anytime required by the police to continue with the recording of the statement, and there was no need for me to be detained overnight, and that I should be released on police bail. The police, through the IO were adamant that I should be detained and put in the police lock-up overnight, despite them knowing about my physical condition. I had to spend the night sleeping on a cold cement floor, which aggravated my back injury which was due to the beating I received from the then IGP, Tan Sri Rahim Nor on 20th September, 1998.

This morning, after a short statement that was recorded for about 30 minutes, I was released on police bail. I was in pain and had to immediately receive some medical treatment upon my return home.

I now wish to deal with the statement of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director, Dato Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin as appeared in Utusan Malaysia today, inter alia

“Pasukan khas bertopeng polis terpaksa memintas kenderaan DSAI di Bukit Segambut di sini dan menahan Anwar ekoran tindakan Penasihat PKR itu mengubah haluan kenderaannya pada saat-saat tempoh yang diberi kepadanya untuk menyerah diri kepada polis pada pukul 2 petang ini hampir berakhir”

This is a blatant lie from the CID director to cover up their shameful act of abuse of police powers. I have given the assurances and had just informed the IO 5 minutes before the disgraceful ambush by the police through my lawyer who was with me in the same car.

In addition to the above, the Deputy Home Minister, Wan Farid said, as reported in Star Online that, I “went voluntarily to the police car without any incident.” Again, this is also a blatant lie by the government.

I take to task the IGP for this abuse of police power against me through the events I’ve narrated above. It appears that the events of the last few days, the nature of my unwarranted arrest, my overnight incarceration which was actually absolutely unnecessary, were an act of personal vengeance against me in retaliation to the reports I lodged earlier against him, which are now being investigated by the ACA.

DNA

I have reasonable grounds for having no confidence in the system. In the course of the trial of the false allegations of sodomy in 1998, DNA evidence was fabricated and used against me. The persons responsible for the fabrication then were the IGP, SAC Rodwan and the AG, are new key players in this investigation.

Until now, I have been denied access to the police report made by the accuser against me.

My accuser is still under police protection and as such, any fabrication is possible if they take my DNA. My decision to refuse a DNA test is taken through advice of my lawyers and DNA experts, both local and overseas.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

(Source)

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