Malaysia's Anwar testifies at trial

Opposition leader says he suffered "degrading" examination after arrest in 2008, in first testimony at sodomy trial.

    Anwar has said the sodomy charge is a government conspiracy to end his political career [Reuters]

    Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader, has said at his sodomy trial that he was forced to sleep on the floor of a "deplorable" cell after his arrest in July, 2008 and that police failed to tell him why he had been arrested.

    He told the country's high court that he went through a "very degrading" physical examination at the Hospital Kuala Lumpur during his detention.

    "After checking the upper part, they [doctors] asked me to remove my underwear and measured my private parts and pubic hair. Very degrading and demeaning," said Anwar.

    His appearance on Thursday was the first time that Anwar has testified in person at the long-running trial, the second time he has been tried on sodomy charges.

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    Malaysia's Anwar faces trial

    The defence is seeking to show that Anwar's arrest in July 2008 was illegal and, therefore, items collected by authorities from his jail cell cannot be entered in evidence.

    A prosecution witness testified earlier that a water bottle, toothbrush and towel taken from the cell contained DNA that matched that of a semen sample found on Anwar's chief accuser.

    Anwar has refused to voluntarily provide a DNA sample, arguing that he fears it would be tampered with.

    The opposition leader is accused of having sexual relations with a male aide, an act that is illegal in Malaysia even between consenting adults. 

    'Politically motivated'

    Anwar contends that the charges are a politically motivated attempt to discredit him ahead of elections expected later this year.

    Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa, who is following developments from the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, said: "The prosecution's case hinges on linking Anwar with DNA samples obtained from the young man who accuses Anwar of sodomising him in June of 2008.
     
    "Last week, a government chemist said that the same DNA profile was found from those samples from the young accuser and from three samples submitted by the police.

    "If convicted, Anwar Ibrahim could face as long as twenty years in prison. He denies all charges and says that they are politically motivated and he's refused to give any samples voluntarily."

    Anwar's previous sodomy conviction was overturned by a higher court.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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