|Anwar’s trial adjourned to July 15|
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial has been adjourned to next Wednesday, July 15, as his lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah is unwell.
The hearing was to have started at the Kuala Lumpur High Court this morning.
Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah accepted the defence request over the objections of the prosecution, which said other lawyers could handle the case
Next Wednesday, the court will first mention a hearing date for an application by Anwar to seek several documents from the prosecution to assist in his defence.
The court will also fix a new mention date for his other application to strike out the sodomy charge.
Only after the disposal of these two applications will the court proceed with the trial proper.
“Until and unless we dispose of the application, we cannot start with the trial,” judge Mohamad Zabidin told the court.
Sulaiman has not been well since last Friday when he had to seek an adjournment of the application for the documents. He said he was feeling giddy.
Anwar, 61, is charged with sodomising his former personal aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23.
He allegedly committed the offence at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26 last year.
The opposition leader has claimed that – like his first sodomy charge in 1999 – this is also part of a political conspiracy. However, the authorities have denied this.
No rally by supporters
Outside the Jalan Duta court complex, the much anticipated rally of Anwar’s supporters fizzled out. Only a handful of supporters had gathered since 7.30am, against the expectation of a 5,000-strong crowd.
Originally, PKR Youth members and Anwar supporters were to have marched from a nearby mosque to the court complex to object the sodomy charge.
As at 8.30am, however, fewer than 20 supporters were seen at the court complex.
At 9am, 30 PKR supporters dressed in black left the meeting point at a nearby bus station, walking quietly and in single file towards the court.
Police blocked them at the exit of the bus station, insisting that they continue in cars.
“I’m a lawyer. Tell me what is wrong with walking,” responded an annoyed Shamsul Iskandar.
By 9.10am, the group at the court entrance had grown to 50. Shouts bebas Anwar (free Anwar) and reformasi were heard.
Anwar held a press conference at 9.40am before leaving the premises.
Asked if he thinks he may be detained, Anwar said: “I’ve been detained (before). They will find any technical reason to deny my right to function as a leader of opposition, so I have every reason to believe they will continue (to be unjust).
“I’m not afraid. I will deal with it. This is not a question of fear – you have to fight for justice.
“This is a peculiar case, where the prosecution is acting as slaves to their political masters, even (in providing the) documents… It is my entitlement under the law but why do they make it so difficult?”
According to Anwar, the prosecution has yet to submit a complete version of the CCTV footage, apparently recorded at the place of the alleged incident.
“It’s a mockery of the system… You are there to execute the law and to conduct the prosecution in a professional manner. You are not there as a (lackey) of (your) political masters,” he said.
“So I have every reason to be suspicious and to cast doubts… aspersions on the whole conduct of the prosecution. But we will go through the motions next wednesday. I hope I will finally be vindicated.”
Asked if he wants the case to be speedily resolved, he said: “I am keen to proceed just to show Malaysians and the world how nasty the prosecution is – how the nasty political masters instruct the police under (inspector-general of police) Musa Hassan and the chambers under (attorney-general) Abdul Gani Patail to continue with their personal vendetta against me.”
Perak raises profile
Outside the court complex, meanwhile, a PKR member was arrested while distributing VCDs entitled Bubar DUN Perak (Dissolve the Perak assembly).
Tan Kim Huat, who is in his 50s, was part of a Perak PKR delegation who arrived in a chartered from Ipoh to led support to Anwar.
Sentul OCPD ACP Zakaria Pagan, who was at the scene, confirmed the arrest but declined to elaborate.
When confronted by party election strategist Tian Chua, the officer replied: “The suspicion is (about) the disc. We will be checking its content.”.
Retorted Chua: “Please release him because the bus is waiting for him.”
Speaking to reporters later, Chua condemned the arrest, but said Zakaria had promised to release Tan in 30 minutes.
Teja state representative Chang Lih Kang said the arrest is unnecessary, since the VCD is already being widely circulated in Perak.
[More to follow]