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June 29, 2008

Malaysia’s Anwar: New sex charges a ‘fabrication’
Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday denounced new allegations of sodomy against him – the same charge that saw him jailed a decade ago – as "complete fabrication", reported AFP.

Anwar's Keadilan party said one of his aides, 23-year-old Saiful Bahari, had been arrested and forced to make a report saying the opposition leader had sodomised him.

"The police report lodged against me earlier today is a complete fabrication," Anwar said in a statement.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," he said.

The charges have erupted after Anwar's spectacular return to political life at the helm of a resurgent opposition, after being sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and spending six years in jail on sex and corruption charges.

Keadilan said it feared Anwar would be arrested soon, but police said he would be investigated first.

"Yes, we have received a police report from an aide of Anwar Ibrahim that he was sodomised. But no, we will not arrest Anwar at the moment," said deputy police chief Ismail Omar.

"We will investigate this report first. We will look into it and carry out the necessary steps before issuing any warrant of arrest," he told AFP.

The charismatic opposition leader said the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition was striking after he gave evidence against the government and police over fabrication of evidence in the original case against him.

"This is clearly a desperate attempt by the Barisan Nasional regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice," he said.

"I urge the Malaysian people to stand against the repressive forces that will be unleashed by the government in the coming days and weeks."

Anwar was convicted of the original charges of sodomy and corruption, which he said were politically motivated. He famously appeared in court with a black eye after being beaten by the police chief.

He was released in 2004 when the sex charge was overturned, but the corruption conviction kept him out of politics until recently.

In March, he led an alliance of opposition parties to unprecedented gains, wresting a third of parliamentary seats and five states from the Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled for half a century.

Since then, he has said he is poised to form a new administration with the help of defecting government lawmakers.

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