17 July 2008

Anwar Ibrahim -- Arrested

The allegations are clear but the charges are not, at least according to Anwar's lawyer. Sankara Nair, Anwar's lawyer witnessed the arrest , and has stated that the police did not indicate what Anwar (pictured) was being charged with. Anwar was arrested as he arrived at home and was immediately taken to Kuala Lumpur police headquarters.

The arrest sparked an SMS frenzy with all members of the Keadilan Party and the members of the opposition coalition receiving SMS messages to gather outside the police headquarters and rally for Anwar's release.

It is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. The "victim" or the person making the claims here is Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a volunteer in Anwar's office. Saiful is 23 years old. It might be the cynic in me, but after the allegations were made several photos emerged showing Saiful posing all smiles at the Deputy Prime Ministers office. This in and of itself has no real significance except how does a 23-year-old with no real reason to be meeting with the Deputy PM get access to the DPM office? More to the point, why is a volunteer from Anwar's office meeting with the DPM?

For old conspiracy theorists like myself there is something to be made of all these coincidences.

Having been charged and convicted for sodomy before it seems that these would be the easiest allegations to be made. Yet, the previous charges were ultimately thrown out or overturned by Malaysia's highest court. This really is shaping up as a he said, he said show. Unless, young Saiful has some incriminating evidence then I am not sure where this goes. I am not an expert on Malaysian law so I cannot authoritatively say.

It must be noted that some Ministers have been suggesting that there is evidence and that Anwar will need to provide a reference DNA sample. I am not sure why he would need to do that. I would have thought that last time around the police would have required Anwar to submit DNA and his sample would be in the system. But if there is DNA evidence, I wonder whether it is of a similar kind that captivated US audiences during the Bill Clinton / Monica Lewinsky caper and the President's semen stain on the good ol' blue dress.

Sodomy charges if proven see the perpetrator liable for a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.

The question though is, are these trumped up charges that are aimed at subverting the opposition movement for democratic change and restoring some of the authoritarian practices of the past?

I will be watching as this will be quite a story for sure.

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