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A Stain Upon Anwar's Defense

A Malaysian state expert Wednesday positively identified ousted deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim's DNA on a mattress, dealing a setback to his defense on sex and corruption charges.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that the fired former heir to Malaysia's top job had sex with the wife of his secretary, sodomized his family driver, and abused his power to try to cover up the sexual trysts.

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Click here for a list of the charges against Anwar Ibrahim.
Police seized the mattress in July from an apartment that Anwar is accused of using for secret meetings with sex partners.

DNA expert Lim Kong Boon told the court that the DNA taken from 10 of the 13 semen stains on the mattress matched Anwar's. He said several stains containing DNA from Anwar were also mixed with DNA from Shamsidar Taharin, the wife of Anwar's former secretary.

Lim's announcement set off chaos in the courtroom, with defense and prosecution lawyers shouting. Anwar bowed his head and his wife, Azizah Ismail, focused on court documents she was reading.

Outside the courtroom, hundreds of Anwar supporters shouted "Reformasi!" That is the rallying cry of his fledgling reform movement, which is demanding greater political freedom.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar on Sept. 2 after deeming him morally unfit to lead the country. He was arrested Sept. 20 and badly beaten while in police custody, causing an international outcry.

He is on trial for abuse of power and will be tried separately on charges of engaging in illegal sex acts, including sodomy.

Anwar has denied all the accusations against him, saying they were fabricated as part of a government conspiracy to undermine his challenge to Mahathir's 17-year rule.

Lim testified that the chance of Anwar's DNA matching another ethnic Malay were one in several billion.

Doctors have testified that they took blood samples from Anwar after his arrest and that he agreed to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

The defense team asked Paul to dismiss the DNA evidence, saying that at no time did Anwar consent to his blood being used for such analysis.

"The blood samples were used by police through trickery, misrepresentation and deception. It infringes on Anwar's right against self-incrimination," argued defense attorney Gurbachan Sing.

The defense team implied Monday that NA samples may have been taken from Anwar while he was unconscious after his beating in police custody. But High Court Judge Augustine Paul accepted the DNA evidence.

Anwar's lawyers said they had filed a request asking the court for more time to analyze the DNA results.
Written by Alvin Ung
©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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