Monday, May 16, 2011

Anwar's defence bound to be called as Najib fights for political survival

UPDATE2 Supporters of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said it was a "foregone conclusion" that he would be asked to defend himself against sodomy charges that he says were framed by Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor in a bid to destroy his political career.

"How can the BN let go such an opportunity to further smear and tarnish Anwar," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

The 64-year old Anwar was accused of sodomising his personal aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 25, at a plush condo on June 26, 2008 just weeks after Anwar announced his decision to make his parliamentary comeback.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court began hearing the BN government's case against him in early 2010, and is now due to decide if there is prima facie evidence to go to full trial.

If convicted, Anwar stands to be imprisioned for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years under section 377B of the Penal Code.

"What was needed to be proved is a prima facie case, credible evidence to ingredient of offence, whether Saiful was a credible witness" Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah told the court.

"It was not surprising defence had tried to paint a picture of Saiful as someone who has zero credibility. With greatest respect, I find this irrelevant. Saiful followed instructions of accused after incident, did not immediately lodge police report. He was given preferential treatment in the office, compared to senior colleagues. Saiful is a young man, not just any employee but personal assistant to the accused."

"I find Saiful’s evidence remains intact. I find him to be a good, true witness, evidence is reliable, if accepted can be used. After finding Saiful credible, not affected by failure to run away or not report, the question is whether opportunity for the act to take place."

"I find accused and complainant at crime scene, opportunity for crime to take place. (Tne) chemist's evidence shows swabs taken from Saiful. These swabs confirmed presence of semen. All three doctors testified positively, conclude there was penile penetration. I find nothing inconsistent with doctors' findings."

The judge is still reading through his ruling.

Scores of Anwar supporters had packed the cortroom from as early as 4.30am. Many were from his constituency of Permatang Pauh in Penang.

"Don't mean to be pessimistic but you can gauge from the judge's words, it is a foregone conclusion," said Tian.


Written by Melissa Lee, Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

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