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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sodomy II: Anwar's defence called as Najib fights for political survival

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:59 AM | Best Blogger Tips

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Sodomy II: Anwar's defence called as Najib fights for political survival
As expected, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim was asked to defend himself against sodomy charges that he says were framed by Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor in a bid to destroy his political career
"How can the BN let go such an opportunity to further smear and tarnish Anwar," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
On the political downcycle, Najib has been accused by pundits of resorting to gutter politics to attack his opponents. Desperate to maintain his position in his Umno party, he has given the green light to a series of conspiracies that have dragged the nation through mud and created angst and unhappines amongst races.
The most recent scandals that his administration has been accused of trumping up include the sex video scandal against Anwar, where Anwar was accused of adultery with a female prostitute.
When the drama began to pall, Najib's Umno-owned newspaper Utusan accused the Christian leaders in the country of conspiring with Anwar's Pakatan Rakyat to replace Islam with Christianity as the official religion.
"Never before has Malaysia reached such a low level as now," BUkit Gantang MP Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle. "This is the most shameful and degrading period ever in our history for the Malays and we have Najib and Rosmah to thank for it. Malaysians want peace. They want to have right to choose, otherwise what for have elections at all. Accept the people's choice and stop using all these low-down blows to go after Anwar, PAS and Pakatan."
Najib is expected to call for snap general elections before the end of this year.
Meanwhile, controversial Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah called for trial to begin from June 6 to 30, saying he was satisfied a prima facie case had been established.
"No reason for this court not to accept evidence in this case," Mohamad Zabidin told the court on Monday.
Another dark day for Malaysia
The 64-year old Anwar was accused of sodomising his personal aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 25, at a plush condo on June 26, 2008 just weeks after Anwar announced his decision to make a parliamentary comeback.
If convicted, Anwar stands to be imprisioned for not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years under section 377B of the Penal Code.
Scores of Anwar supporters had packed the cortroom from as early as 4.30am. Many were from his constituency of Permatang Pauh in Penang. They were obviously upset by the ruling, which they felt insulted the Opposition Leader given the flimsiness of the charges that have been lambasted by world leaders from the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, Sweden to Ireland.
PKR leaders called for calm. Anwar's wife and PKR president Wan Azizah told the media that it was another dark day for justice in the country.
Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah told Malaysia Chronicle the party would soon let the public know what would next be the course of action. "Everyone, please stay calm. We just have to keep fighting on," he said.
Meanwhile, Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair said the defence would call Najib and Rosmah Mansor to the stand to be grilled for their part in the conspiracy.
The complainant Saiful had met Najib two days before lodging the police complaint that eventually led to Anwar's arrest. The prime minister had initially denied ever knowing Saiful but as photos of Saiful and his own aides began appearing in cyberspace, Najib U-turned and admitted to the meeting. Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia.
"We may call 30 defence witnesses," said Sankara, expressing disappointment at the judge's decision which he said was baseless.
What the judge said
In a speech lasting nearly two hours, the judge read from case notes and pointed out key events in the case.
"What was needed to be proved is a prima facie case, credible evidence to ingredient of offence, whether Saiful was a credible witness" said Mohamad Zabidin.
"It was not surprising defence had tried to paint a picture of Saiful as someone who has zero credibility. With greatest respect, I find this irrelevant. Saiful followed instructions of accused after incident, did not immediately lodge police report. He was given preferential treatment in the office, compared to senior colleagues. Saiful is a young man, not just any employee but personal assistant to the accused."
"I find Saiful’s evidence remains intact. I find him to be a good, true witness, evidence is reliable, if accepted can be used. After finding Saiful credible, not affected by failure to run away or not report, the question is whether opportunity for the act to take place."
"I find accused and complainant at crime scene, opportunity for crime to take place. (Tne) chemist's evidence shows swabs taken from Saiful. These swabs confirmed presence of semen. All three doctors testified positively, conclude there was penile penetration.  I find nothing inconsistent with doctors' findings."
"I find nothing inconsistent with doctors' findings. The other crucial evidence is DNA evidence. The accused was the last occupant in cell before towel, mineral water bottle, toothbrush was taken for DNA sampling."
What the defense said
To Anwar's lawyers, it was clear the Judge only saw what he wanted to see and ignored all the rest. They pointed out that initially Anwar was charged for 'raping' Saiful in that there was physical compulsion involved.
Yet, it is impossible for the 64-year old and frail Anwar to physically force Saiful, who is a well-built 6-footer and the charge was quickly and controversially amended to consensual although Saiful has stuck to saying Anwar had compelled him. Saiful also never explained why, if it was not consensual, did he not run away from Anwar.
"The judge just skirted around the conflicts in the issue. He also talked about Saiful's character and yet somehow forgot about Saiful's romance with Farah Azalina, the deputy public prosecutor, during the trial and how they kept the romance secret from the court. Is a man who two-timed his fiancee with a newly-met DPP a man with good character?" one the defense team told Malaysia Chronicle. 
"The judge talked about the Hospoital Kuala Lumpur doctors' report and how the doctors agreed there was penetration. He does not mention the initial HKL report had denied any penetration at all. The judge also never took into account the doctor's testimony from the Pusrawi Hospital, which again clearly states no penetration. He never mentioned at all why the prosecution refused to allow the Pusrawi doctor to testify."
"As for the toothbrush, mineral water bottle and towel, did the judge remember that even he himself had rejected them as sampling items for DNA matching because they were illegally taken from Anwar and the samples were kept for days in the Investigating Officer's drawer before being sent to the Chemistry De[partment. This would surely have caused degradation. How can such unreliable samples be allowed? Then the judge completely ignores the DNA analysis sheets which showed the presence of DNA belonging to more than two men in Saiful's anus. Five unidentified male DNA was found. Yet, the judge completely ignores this factor. How can such a thing happen unless either Saiful was a sex maniac or DNA was planted on the swabs."

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