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World - Asia/Pacific

Judge strips Anwar of key conspiracy defense

Graphic February 9, 1999
Web posted at: 6:24 a.m. EST (1124 GMT)

In this story:

Police conspiracy new tack for defense

Anwar's wife: man forced to say he was sodomized by Anwar


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) -- The judge in the trial of Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday ruled out the defense's argument that the former Malaysian finance minister was the victim of a political conspiracy.

"Any issue of political conspiracy against the accused, if any, is irrelevant," High Court Judge Augustine Paul told the trial on the second day of testimony by Anwar.

Anwar has pleaded not guilty to five counts each of corruption and sodomy in his trial, which is at the heart of Malaysia's political turbulence.

Central to Anwar's defense is his argument that he was the victim of a conspiracy by political associates of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who wanted to sideline his deputy from power.

Earlier in the day, the defense sought to build this argument by showing that high ranking politicians close to Mahathir had plotted in 1997 to smear Anwar with sex allegations.

Anwar told the court that police in 1997 had named Daim Zainuddin, recently appointed finance minister, Domestic Trade Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob and Mahathir's political secretary, Aziz Shamsuddin, as among the conspirators.

Police conspiracy new tack for defense

The judge said evidence introduced by the defense had to relate to the four corruption charges under examination, which allege that Anwar interfered with a 1997 police investigation of accusations of sodomy and adultery by him.

"Evidence may be adduced to show, if any there was, conspiracy by police to change their stand and create evidence, and no further," the judge said.

"What you have to show is that he never instructed them (police), in what way this issue of conspiracy affected the police officers," said Augustine, who is judge and jury in the trial.

One of Anwar's lawyers said the defense team would now try to prove that police had plotted against the former minister.

"I think we have to follow the ruling although we are not happy about it," defense lawyer Pawancheek Marican told reporters outside the courthouse.

"The political conspiracy was the one we advanced as one of our strongest defenses, but there is also another aspect to the argument which is conspiracy by the police."

Anwar's wife: man forced to say he was sodomized by Anwar

As Anwar testified inside the courthouse, his wife said a male fashion designer accused of having sex with her husband says police forced him into making a false confession.

Mior Abdul Razak Yahya wrote a statutory declaration dated February 8 denying official accusations he had been sodomized by Anwar in 1992, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

"In his statutory declaration, Mior categorically states that he never had any kind of sexual relations with Anwar Ibrahim and that he was forced and threatened by the police after his arrest on 19 September 1998 to make false admissions," she told reporters outside the High Court.

Mior was one of five men named in criminal counts lodged in September and alleging sodomy by Anwar.

As the trial adjourned for the day, about 200 Anwar supporters demonstrated on a riverbank across from the courthouse, holding up a banner saying, "Conspiracy Revealed."

The protesters shouted "Reformasi" (reform) and "Up, Up with Anwar, Down, Down with Mahathir."

Reuters contributed to this report.

Malaysia's Anwar takes the stand in trial
- February 3, 1999

Plan to suppress findings of inquiry into Anwar beating
- January 28, 1999
Independent inquiry ordered into beating of Malaysia's Anwar
- January 27, 1999
Malaysia's Anwar loses bail appeal
- January 16, 1999
Trial of Malaysia's Anwar adjourned
- January 14, 1999
Mahathir could testify in Anwar trial
- January 13, 1999
Malaysian Prime Minister under pressure over police force
- January 9, 1999

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