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World - Asia/Pacific

Anwar trial postponed again over toothache

February 19, 1999
Web posted at: 1:03 a.m. EST (0603 GMT)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (CNN) -- The trial of Malaysia's ousted Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was postponed on Friday for the second time because the former Cabinet minister was suffering from a broken tooth.

Judge Augustine Paul postponed the resumption of the trial until Monday after Anwar's lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse told the High Court that his client in the corruption case was in "very great pain" because his tooth had broken overnight.

A royal commission is also expected to begin public hearings on Monday into injuries Anwar suffered last year while in police custody.

The royal commission was formed after a police investigation failed to identify who hit Anwar after he was arrested in September.

Anwar was sacked on September 2 and arrested 18 days later after leading 30,000 anti-government protesters through the capital calling on Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to step down after 17 years in power.

Anwar appeared in court on September 29 with a black eye and bruises on his neck and hands which he said he had suffered while blindfolded and beaten unconscious in police custody.

Mahathir initially said Anwar's injuries might have been self-inflicted. He later said the government would make sure anyone proven to have hit Anwar would be punished.

Anwar's injuries and Mahathir's apparent initial indifference stirred international outrage. But a police investigation failed to get to the bottom of the injuries.

Last month, the government announced the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry.

The commission is headed by former High Court chief justice Anuar Zainal Abidin, and former Court of Appeal judge Mahadev Shankar and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Yeoh Poh Hong are members.

Abu Talib, appointed to lead the investigation, said the hearings would be open to the public.

He has prepared a list of some 35 witnesses, including Anwar.

Abu Talib said it was not known how long the commission would take to question all of the witnesses, but the hearings were not likely to last beyond 10 days.

Once the hearings are over, the commission will draft a report that will be presented to Malaysia's king.

Anwar was charged with 10 counts of corruption and sexual misconduct in September. He has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

His trial on four of the corruption charges, which started in November, is separate to the royal commission.

Reuters contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
Toothache delays start of Malaysia's Anwar trial
February 18, 1999
Anwar says prosecution lawyers in cahoots with his enemies
February 12, 1999
Malaysia's Anwar under fire as he details conspiracy theory
February 11, 1999
Malaysia's Anwar said he was given ultimatum
February 10, 1999
Judge strips Anwar of key conspiracy defense
February 9, 1999
Malaysia's Anwar takes the stand in trial
February 8, 1999

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