(AFP) – Jun 30, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) — Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim Monday left the Turkish ambassador's residence, where he fled after being accused of sodomy, after the government guaranteed his safety.
Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked a decade ago and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges, accused the government of concocting new sex claims by a 23-year-old male aide and said he feared an assassination attempt.
"I pray enough will be done for my security," he told reporters after emerging from the ambassador's residence.
Anwar said the charges were an attempt to derail his political comeback at the helm of a resurgent opposition, and came as he was poised to re-enter parliament with the backing of four defectors from the ruling coalition.
"That is why they brought these allegations against me," he said. "It is an attempt to destroy my political career."
The charismatic opposition leader said the new charges would be "a repeat of the 1998 fiasco" when he was hit with the sodomy and corruption counts that were widely seen as politically motivated.
He spent six years in jail until 2004 when the sex charge was overturned. Anwar said he was targeted again because he had evidence that the police and attorney-general had fabricated evidence in the original trial.
March elections that handed the opposition a third of parliamentary seats and five states have shaken the coalition government that has ruled for half a century, and triggered calls for Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to quit.
Anwar has said he will soon seize power with the help of defectors from the Barisan Nasional coalition which has ruled Malaysia for half a century.
Abdullah and his ministers have denied any connection with the accusations by Anwar's aide, who said he was sodomised at an upmarket condo in Kuala Lumpur.
Anwar's lawyers on Monday filed a writ at the High Court charging the young man with libel and filing a false police report, saying the complaint was malicious and designed to destroy his political career.
A friend of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Anwar sought sanctuary at the embassy on Sunday, saying he had received threats and feared for his life.
Foreign Minister Rais Yatim summoned the Turkish ambassador Monday and warned he would "suffer the consequences of obstructing justice" if he allowed Anwar to evade a police investigation.
But Anwar said he left the ambassador's residence of his own accord. His party said he would address a political rally later Monday.
Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar accused Anwar of staging a drama and said that he was perfectly safe.
"No one has endangered his life, a private person has made a police report against him. You should allow the police to investigate," he told reporters.
"It is play-acting on the part of Anwar to gain sympathy, to show that his life is in danger. I give guarantees that his life will be protected, his life is not under threat at all."
Leading human rights group Suaram said the allegations were a sign of desperation by the ruling coalition as it faced being ousted by Anwar's resurgent opposition.
"We see this as a politically motivated move by the ruling party. They are at the brink of losing power and support of the people," said Suaram's executive director Yap Swee Seng.
"I think there will be a wave of street protests in support of Anwar against these wild allegations," he said. "People are fed up with corruption and abuse of power by this regime."
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