Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Police convoy heading towards IPK. ─ Picture by Shannon Teoh By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 - Police arrested Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy under Section 377C of the Penal Code at 12.50pm today.

According to his lawyer Sankara Nair, Anwar was arrested just before he reached his Bukit Segambut house after giving a statement at the Anti-Corruption Agency head office in Putrajaya.

Sankara also confirmed that Anwar was neither roughed up nor handcuffed by the police, no policemen were seen carrying guns around him.

Lawyer Karpal Singh stated that police said, "in a breath, yes, he will be allowed bail" when asked by the press if police had given any indication that Anwar will be released. He also insisted that Anwar cannot be charged today as the investigation needs to be sent to the public prosecutor's office before any charge can be made.

Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah said that the arrest party included Special Action Unit personnel in balaclavas and armed with "machine guns".

The Opposition leader was due to be questioned at 2pm at the city police headquarters in connection with a sodomy complaint by a former aide.

He had told media waiting outside the ACA headquarters in Putrajaya earlier that he had not finished giving his statement regarding his claims that the IGP and AG had fabricated evidence in his black eye assault back in 1998 and had appealed to the ACA to let him off early to make his appointment with the police, to which they agreed.

When asked if he thought he would be arrested by the police later, he had replied that he did not know and that it would be unfair of him to pre-empt the police's actions.

"I think it's a repeat of the 1998 script. You can see the pattern," he said, and added, tongue-in-cheek, "If they do arrest me, I'll be giving my statement from the police lock-up."

The arrest came over an hour before the deadline set for him to report to the city police headquarters. The move sets the stage for the Opposition icon to be charged with sodomy, and complicate the already murky political situation in Malaysia.

The police have up to 24 hours to decide if they will release or remand him for another 14 days. Only lawyer and PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah was allowed to accompany him as he recorded his statement at about 2.45pm at the IPK KL.

From the point when he arrived, only his family members -- wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, four daughters including Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah and her husband -- were allowed access to him even though a group of Opposition MPs including Azmin Ali, Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang, Yusmadi Yusoff, Dr Hatta Ramli, Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad and Loh Gwo Burne claimed they had an agreement to have access to Anwar as well.

Anwar was taken to the KL police headquarters in a police vehicle with police escort of as many as 15 vehicles in the convoy.

Yusmadi, MP for Balik Pulau called it "uncivilised. Anwar is not a police threat."

DAP chief Karpal called the action high-handed intimidation while Azmin said he is outraged.

Hatta called the arrest unwarranted. "They took him from his car like a kidnapping. This is a provocation." DAP adviser Lim said, "This will erase public trust in independence of police."

A police light-strike force with a water-cannon truck is keeping a watchful eye on Anwar's supporters who are milling outside the compound.

* lightning do strike twice here in Malaysia, this will spark another protest ala reformasi in 1998 but i predict it will be worse than before. A sad day for Malaysia...

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