Prosecutors laud Anwar's accuser
     

    Saturday, July 15, 2000

    MALAYSIA

    Prosecutors laud Anwar's accuser

    ASSOCIATED PRESS in Kuala Lumpur

    Prosecutors in the trial of Anwar Ibrahim ended their closing arguments yesterday by praising the integrity of the former employee that Anwar allegedly sodomised, saying he had risked public disgust to ensure that justice was done.

    Anwar's former family driver Azizan Abu Bakar was motivated neither by greed nor malice when he decided to accuse the former deputy prime minister of sodomy, said prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail.

    "No one in the right frame of mind would do what he did unless it is true," Mr Abdul Gani said. "He exposed himself and his beloved ones to risk of their personal safety from Anwar sympathisers, as Anwar Ibrahim is such a popular figure - revered and respected."

    He said Mr Azizan had been willing to risk public disgust in revealing that he had been an alleged victim of Anwar's lust. Sodomy is a crime in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.

    "By implicating himself, he subjected not only himself, but his wife, two growing children and the whole of his family, immediate or distant, to public humiliation, contempt and odium," Mr Abdul Gani said.

    The defence gets a chance to rebut the charges on Monday before the hearings in the year-long trial come to a close. The judge is then expected to set a date for his verdict.

    Anwar, 52, who was dismissed by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in September 1998, is serving a six-year sentence for corruption and could get 20 more years if convicted of sodomy. He denies the charges, saying they were fabricated by Dr Mahathir's allies to destroy him politically.

    The defence is trying to convince the judge not only that the charges are false, but also that prosecutors relied on shaky witnesses and failed to establish when the alleged offence was committed.

    Prosecutors originally said Anwar had committed sodomy in May 1994, but amended that to May 1992 based on testimony from Mr Azizan.

    When the defence proved that the Kuala Lumpur apartment where the alleged offence was said to have occurred had not been completed until 1993, the timing of the offence was amended to "one occasion" sometime in the first three months of 1993.

    Mr Azizan said during Anwar's corruption trial that no sodomy had occurred after 1992.

    Yesterday the prosecution said that Mr Azizan's faulty memory and contradictory statements clearly indicated that he was an honest and credible witness who was not in the business of lying to mask his forgetfulness.

    "Azizan could not be penalised just because he could not remember the dates," Mr Abdul Gani said.

    The prosecution's case rests mostly on Mr Azizan's testimony.

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