Damage to case against Anwar

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The Independent Online
THE CASE against Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's dissident leader and former deputy prime minister, suffered another blow yesterday when his lawyers obtained a secret police report concluding that sex charges against him were fabricated as part of a smear campaign.

"The allegations made are baseless and are dependent more on imagination and assumption," said the report, prepared by the head of the Malaysian special branch, Mohamed Said Awang, and given to the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in August 1997.

"Through our sources, the allegations do not have, [or] contain, any proof."

The report was read out to the court by Mr Mohamed, a witness for the prosecution, whose sensational testimony - full of contradictions, evasions and admissions about police procedure - has done more to strengthen the defence.

On Wednesday, Mr Mohamed described ordering officers to intimidate two witnesses and "neutralise" their claims that Mr Anwar had had sex with two of his male associates.

The following day, he admitted that he might lie under oath if asked to do so by a senior politician, and that he did not believe the sodomy accusations made against Mr Anwar.

The document provides the strongest support so far to Mr Anwar's claim that the case against him is a conspiracy.

Despite the revelations in court, there was no repeat last week of the huge demonstrations which took place around the country in support of Mr Anwar and the political reform movement which he launched after his sacking by Mr Mahathir.