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Ibrahim faces fresh sodomy charge

world Updated: Jun 30, 2008 01:37 IST

Agencies
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Former Malaysian deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has vehemently denied a sodomy charge levelled by an aide — a decade after he was sacked from the government on a similar charge, besides corruption, to be jailed.

Dismissing the charges as an attempt by the government to discredit him, Ibrahim, who has taken refuge at the Turkish embassy for what his party said were security reasons, told his family he feared for his life. But he is not seeking political asylum, a party official said.

His wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, also the leader of Opposition in parliament, said the sodomy charge against her husband was an attempt to “assassinate” his political career. “They could not bring him down through other ways and so made this political attempt, which is just a repeat of what had happened about 10 years ago,” NST Online said.

Ibrahim was deputy Prime Minister and finance minister in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s cabinet in 1998 when he faced the same charge. He was debarred by a court order from contesting. The ban ended in April. The new allegation comes when he has indicated readiness to contest a by-election.

Ibrahim is the de facto leader of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), which heads Malaysia’s Opposition front that emerged strong with 82 seats in parliament and control of four states in this March’s polls.

His statement was read out on Saturday by PKR’s vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah. The statement said: “The police report lodged against me today is a complete fabrication. I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress.”

Ibrahim’s wife said Saiful Bahari, 23, who has alleged he was sodomised last Thursday, was a volunteer who joined to help the party during the last general election period. “He came out of nowhere and offered to help us during the busy time of the campaigning. We knew little of him and no background check was done on him as he was just a volunteer,” she said.