Malaysia's Anwar says police stripped him

AP News
Posted: Mar 03, 2011 3:37 AM
Malaysia's Anwar says police stripped him

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Thursday that he suffered "degrading" treatment by being forced to strip at a hospital and sleep in a dirty cell when authorities arrested him on charges of sodomy three years ago.

Anwar made the comments when he took the witness stand for the first time in his sodomy trial. Anwar is charged with having sex with his 25-year-old male former aide in June 2008. He insists the accusation is part of a government plot to discredit him, but authorities deny any conspiracy.

Anwar said police detained him in July 2008 and took him to a government hospital, where he was instructed by physicians to remove his underwear for them to measure his private parts as part of a physical examination. He didn't say specifically why.

The experience was "really very degrading and demeaning," Anwar said at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

He also claimed he slept in a "deplorable, atrocious" cell before being released the next day.

Anwar's testimony was part of a hearing in which the court is trying to determine whether the prosecution can submit evidence of a toothbrush, towel and water bottle that Anwar had with him in the cell.

A government chemist testified last week that a DNA sample found on those items matched that of a semen sample found on the man who accused Anwar of sodomy. Anwar's lawyers say investigators did not legally obtain those items.

The evidence is crucial because prosecutors appear to be trying to link Anwar to the semen found on Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his former aide. Anwar has refused to voluntarily submit DNA samples, saying he fears investigators would tamper with the evidence.

Saiful testified last year that Anwar, 63, pushed him to have sex at a Kuala Lumpur condominium. Sodomy, even if consensual, is illegal in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

Anwar, who is married with six children, lost his post as deputy premier in 1998 on charges of sodomizing his family's former driver and trying to cover up his actions. He was released from prison in 2004 when a court overturned the sodomy conviction. Anwar denied the charges.