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Friday, July 30, 2010

Farah-Saiful: Deafening silence from the religious authorities


Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar is puzzled why the religious authorities have been keeping so quiet despite the very public allegations swirling around town that DPP Farah Azlina Latiff had an affair with sodomy complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

“Their silence is deafening. I wonder is it because it is Anwar?” Mahfuz told Malaysia Chronicle.

He was referring to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was accused of sodomizing Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 in Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Qazaf rejected

Anwar has denied the charges and accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of collaborating with Saiful to frame him and derail his political comeback.

The Opposition Leader has also attempted to have his case tried at the Islamic courts but his application was rejected by the Federal Territory Syarie chief prosecutor Shamsuddin Hussain, Islamic Religious department director Che Mat Che Ali and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom.

“Any intervention to his (the Syarie chief prosecutor’s) role by any party, be it by the rulers or a judge, tantamounts to a sin (maksiat). According to the syariah law, a person cannot be forced to prosecute,” ruled Justice Mohd Shukor Sabudin in April this year.

Different rules for different people?

The decision sparked accusations of political interference and that the Najib administration wanted to have Anwar tried under civil law, because under qazaf, Saiful would have to produce four witnesses - which he can not.

Meanwhile, the Muslim community has expressed shock at the alleged affair. Sex outside of marriage is punishable under Islamic law.

“It is time for the religious authorities to say something. They should not pretend it did not happen because this is a very public case,” asked Mahfuz
.
“Some of these authorities keep telling us they are the guardians of our morals, but where are they now? They should not give the impression that there are different rules for different people.”

Will they take the stand?

Last week, Farah was dropped from the prosecution team in the Sodomy II trial against Anwar following news of her alleged affair with Saiful.

Neither she nor Saiful has offered any comment so far, but Anwar’s lawyers say the pair may have to take stand and answer questions about their relationship.

All eyes are now on the trial due to resume on Monday, when the defense team led by Sankara Nair is expected to apply for an investigation.

“For sure, we will need to probe the extent and length of their relationship. It will have a serious impact on the fairness of the trial,” Anwar’s lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah told Malaysia Chronicle.

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