Were the Anwar Sodomy Charges Faked?
|Our Correspondent||Jul 29, 2008|
The doctor who examined a 23-year-old male aide allegedly sodomized by Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim found no evidence of tearing or scarring that would indicate penetration, according to a medical report leaked to local journalists.
If the document is genuine, it can be expected to raise further suspicions of complicity on the part of top government leaders in attempting to destroy Anwar politically. The charges against Anwar, filed by the youth on June 28, could end the opposition politician's political career and put him back behind bars, where he had spent six years from 1999 on similar charges, which human rights organizations across the world condemned as trumped up. Sodomy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and caning
Anwar was arrested two weeks after the youth filed the complaint and was jailed overnight on July 15 after police, some wearing balaclava masks, descended on his home, a move that sent Anwar's supporters into the streets around the police station where he was being held. He refused at that time to give a DNA specimen, charging that it could be misused.
According the medical report, which allegedly was filed at Hospital Pusrawi Sdn Bhd on Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur, the aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, was examined by Dr Mohamed Osman on June 28 at 2 pm. After he had gone to the hospital to complain about pain he said he was suffering in his anus, he allegedly told hospital personnel that he had been assaulted by a "very important person."
After Dr Mohamad refused to write a report that Saiful had been sodomized, according to Malaysia Today, the doctor suggested that the youth obtain another diagnosis at a government hospital. Doctors at that hospital also refused to confirm a diagnosis of sodomy, according to the publication, although it did not name the doctors.
Nonetheless, Malaysia Today reported, Saiful filed the report of assault at a nearby police kiosk four hours later.
After Mohamad Osman made the report indicating no sexual assault had taken place, police picked up the doctor and detained him for three days to attempt to persuade him to change his diagnosis, according to Malaysia Today. The doctor, the publication said, has since gone into hiding with his family.
In a telephone interview with Asia Sentinel, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ismail Omar confirmed that Dr Mohamad had been questioned, but said he had never been detained.
Attempts to reach hospital officials were unsuccessful. They were said to be in a meeting. However, although the medical report could not be independently verified, a senior Pusrawi Hospital official told the Internet publication Malaysiakini this morning that the hospital had launched an internal investigation on how Saiful's medical report was leaked, which is widely considered as a major infringement of patient privacy.
When Malaysiakini showed the official a copy of the report, he refused to return it but he didn't describe it as fake, saying, "It's our document."
Anwar's party issued a statement saying that "the medical report leaked today appears to confirm what we have always believed - that the allegations against Anwar Ibrahim are without merit and politically motivated."
The existence of the report, the statement continued, "further erodes any confidence the public would have in the credibility of the police report that has been filed against Anwar Ibrahim, a report which remains shrouded in secrecy. Why has this medical report surfaced only today, over one month after the allegations were made, after (Anwar) spent a night in jail, and after the police have spent so much time and money on this case?"
Anwar and his three-party coalition, made up of his own Parti Keadilan Rakyat, the Democratic Action Party and Parti Islam se-Malaysia, are attempting to oust the ruling Barisan Nasional, or National Coalition, from 50 years of unbroken power. In March 8 elections, the opposition coalition broke the two-thirds hold the BN had enjoyed in parliament since independence.
Anwar was in the political wilderness for a decade after he broke with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998. Although the 1999l sodomy charge against him was later reversed, the 61-year-old former deputy prime minister was barred from running for political office because the corruption charge remained. That ban, however, has been repealed and Anwar expects to stand in a by-election. If he is victorious, he has repeatedly forecast that in mid-September he will lure enough pro-Barisan lawmakers this side to take over the government. Anwar has made numerous allegations of political corruption against top leaders of the United Malays National Organisation, the lead party in the three-party Barisan Nasional.
If the coalition indeed takes power, top members of the government, the judiciary and law enforcement have a great deal to fear. Anwar has already sought to have his original conviction reversed and has filed charges against Abdul Ghani Patail, the attorney general, and Musa Hassan, the chief of police for allegedly fabricating the evidence against him in the original case.
Malaysia Today earlier reported that a witness told the publication Saiful had met with Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the designated successor to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Anwar's rival for political power, concerning the filing of the charges. Najib had first told reporters he had never met with the youth and later said he had only met him briefly for "career counseling."
Raja Petra himself has been a major source of embarrassment to the government, directly accusing Najib and his wife of being involved in the brutal execution murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was shot twice in the head in October of 2006 and dumped in a patch of jungle before she was blown up with plastic explosive. In response, the government - although neither Najib nor his wife - has charged Raja Petra with both sedition and criminal libel, a statute that is very rarely used today and deals with the danger to national security.
Raja Petra, a member of the Selangor sultanate, has refused to back down, saying that if he goes to jail, he intends to take Najib down with him. Prime Minister Badawi has fully backed Najib and named him as his successor. Despite numerous attempts to get Najib into court for interrogation, the judge in the year-old trial of one of his best friends and two of his bodyguards for Altantuya's murder has refused to call him, most recently last week.