KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3: As expected, Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration is relying on DNA samples and a chemist report it has stubbornly withheld from the defense to nail Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges that have been internationally condemned as faked to kill the latter’s political career.
“They are also relying on smut to sensationalize the case so that they can drag Anwar and the Pakatan Rakyat through as much mud as possible,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Harakahdaily.
On Wednesday, in defiance of the UN Human Rights Commission’s standards for fair trials, Najib’s Umno-BN government refused to hand over key documents such as CCTV footage, medical and chemist reports to Anwar’s defense team. This will badly handicap Anwar’s defense as his lawyers would not have access to same weapons as the prosecutors.
High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah also refused to suspend the hearing pending the outcome of Anwar’s final appeal for the documents.
The sodomy trial then began with the prosecution telling the court that traces of Anwar’s semen had been found in the accuser’s anus. The accuser is Anwar’s former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who has alleged that Anwar sodomised him at a condominium in Kuala Lumpur in June 2008.
Tissue samples taken from the outer and inner part of Saiful’s anus were examined for a DNA match, Solicitor-General II Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden said.
However, while his revelation raised a buzz in the courtoom, such a move had already been anticipated by Anwar’s lawyers.
“Swabs taken from Saiful suspiciously took two days to reach the chemist lab for analysis. We know now that the prosecution will rely on purported DNA evidence to attempt to prove that Anwar was involved in an act of sodomy with Saiful without his consent,” Sivaras Rasiah, one of Anwar’s senior counsel had warned..
“How a 61 year old man with a bad back can force himself on a fit and tall 24 year old man will be an interesting question for all observers of this political trial.”
Smut and sensationalizing
According to Mohamed Yusof, the prosecution had more than 20 witnesses. His first witness was Saiful, who told the court that Anwar had used vulgar words to entice him.
The prosecution’s witness list is also another of the key information that has been withheld from Anwar’s lawyers, adding to the growing frustration that the hearing would be a repeat of the 1999 sham trial ordered by Mahathir Mohamad, who was then the prime minister and was allegedly jealous of his subordinate’s surging popularity.
Anwar – then a star finance minister who had been named Newsweek’s Asian of the Year – was convicted of sodomy in 2000 and sentenced to six years in jail. However, a year after Mahathir retired, Anwar was cleared of the sodomy charges and freed in 2004.
The reform icon has denied the latest charges and has subpoenaed Najib and his wife Rosmah as his witnesses. He has accused the first couple of having assisted Saiful in plotting the sodomy accusations to kill his political comeback.
According to Saiful, he did not welcome Anwar’s advances but felt compelled to comply. A university dropout, he was employed by Anwar between March and June 2008 and paid a salary of RM1,000.
Saiful told the court he resigned in June because he “could not stand being sodomised”. However, in his resignation letter, he had cited “laziness and indiscipline” as his shortcomings and reasons for wanting to quit.
The court then adjourned the trial to 9.30am Thursday and ruled that proceedings be held in camera due to the sensitivity of the testimony. – harakahdaily