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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sodomy II: DPP dropped on alleged affair, fears of mistrial grow

SAIFUL SHOULD BE MADE TO PAY ON THE SPOT FOR EVERYTHING SO FAR, AND TREAT IT AS A MIS-TRIAL.

SAIFUL SHOULD BE ARRESTED IMMEDIATELY BY THE SYARIAH COURT SINCE THERE ARE CLAIMS THAT HE HAD AN ALLEGED SEXUAL AFFAIR WITH THE LADY DPP FARAH AZLINA LATIF (KHALWAT).

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

A lady deputy public prosecutor in the sodomy trial against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, who allegedly broke off her engagement to have a sexual affair with the complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan, has been dropped from the case.

But Anwar’s lawyers warn that this does not mean there has not been a mistrial.

They told Malaysia Chronicle that instead the latest decision by Attorney-General Gani Patail actually bolstered concerns that Saiful had obtained access to confidential information as well as to the prosecution's Investigation Papers. This would give him an unfair advantage over Anwar.

“Dropping her from the team is not sufficient and it will not stop the defense from applying to the court to get directions to investigate further,” Anwar’s lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah told Malaysia Chronicle.

“The court records will show that she was part of the prosecuting team from day one of the trial. Now, this makes the risks of a mistrial very real.”

Removed to prevent negative public perception of the prosecution

On Monday, Anwar’s defense team had handed a letter to Gani demanding that action be taken to verify the allegations swirling around town of the affair between DPP Farah Azlina Latiff and Saiful.

The next day, Gani told reporters that she had been removed to prevent a negative public perception of the prosecution in the trial that become known as Sodomy II. The trial, which began early this year, is due to resume on Augut 2.

The AG’s chambers has also tried to downplay the affair by insisting that she only played a small role, while the media has tried to imply she did not have a sexual relationship with Saiful but merely a “romantic” fling.

Yet in the past few days since top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin first broke the news on his Malaysia Todaynews portal that she was “bonking” Saiful, word has spread in the legal fraternity that she had broken off her engagement with her fiancĂ© to be with Saiful.

“All this indicates that the relationship was very serious. The fundamental issue is that of a serious conflict of interest and this cannot be resolved by removing her,” Sivarasa said.

“We can understand that this must be a terrible time for her and Saiful but imagine how Anwar and his family must have felt each time the government trumps up these charges against him.”

Imagine what Anwar must have gone through

Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR adviser, was accused of sodomizing Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

He has denied the charges and accused Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor of collaborating with Saiful to frame him and derail his political comeback.

“We have always questioned the mala fide of the government in pursuing this trial. Even without evidence of penetration, Najib has insisted on pushing the case through. Why? And why has the mainstream media been working overtime to paint Anwar as the guilty party,” Sivarasa said.”

“Now, with this latest development, Malaysians can see for themselves how sadly lacking in both credibility and morals is the government's prosecution. It is not Anwar but them. Who can believe them?”

A former star Finance Minister, Anwar was riding high when ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad slapped sodomy charges against him in 1998. Despite fighting the case and saying the accusations were trumped-up charges to stop his political rise, Anwar was sacked and jailed.

It was only in 2004, after Mahathir had retired, that he was acquitted and freed. In 2008, soon after Anwar announced he would contest the Permatang Pauh by-election, he found himself accused of sodomy again. Despite the negative publicity, he won by a landslide and returned to Parliament as Opposition Leader.

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