Accuser says Malaysia's Anwar sodomized him abroad

Accuser says Malaysia's Anwar sodomized him abroad
Eileen NG, Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur | Thu, 05/13/2010 1:23 PM | World

The man who accused Anwar Ibrahim of sodomizing him testified in court Thursday that the Malaysian opposition leader had sex with him in Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

Anwar is charged with sodomizing his 24-year-old former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at a Kuala Lumpur condominium in June 2008, but Saiful claimed he had been a victim of Anwar's sexual advances on other occasions after they met during campaigning for general elections earlier that year.

"I had been sodomized by Anwar several times, in and out of the country, in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok," Saiful told the Kuala Lumpur High Court during cross-examination by Anwar's defense team.

Saiful did not elaborate, but Anwar made various trips abroad after March 2008 national polls, when he led a three-party opposition alliance to unprecedented electoral gains.

Anwar, a married 62-year-old with six children, denies the sodomy charge, saying it is a plot by Prime Minister Najib Razak's administration to cripple the opposition. Najib denies any conspiracy but has acknowledged meeting Saiful two days before he was allegedly sodomized for the final time.

Anwar's sodomy trial centers on a claim that Anwar and Saiful had sex on June 26, 2008. Anwar is charged under a law that punishes anal sex by up to 20 years in this Muslim-majority nation.

On Thursday, Saiful denied he fabricated the accusation against Anwar with the help of Najib and police.

Anwar's chief attorney, Karpal Singh, questioned why Saiful waited two days after being allegedly sodomized for the final time before making a police complaint.

Saiful said he wanted to obtain advice from other people, including political and religious figures, because "this affects my dignity and my future."

The judge agreed to a defense request for the remainder of Thursday's cross-examination to be held without public observers or the media because it would likely include graphic description by Saiful of the alleged sodomy.

Trial hearings, which began in February, are then scheduled to take a break until May 31.

It is the second time Anwar has been charged for sodomy. In 1998, Anwar lost his post as deputy prime minister and spent six years in jail after being convicted of sodomizing his family's former driver and abusing his power. He was freed in 2004 when a court overturned the sodomy conviction. Anwar denied all charges.

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