KUALA LUMPUR: opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim moved on Monday to have the judge in his sodomy trial disqualified, complaining he had refused to rein in ‘biased’ media coverage.
The trial, which Anwar says is a plot to end his political career, began last week with graphic testimony from the 24-year-old former aide Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan who accuses Anwar of sodomising him.
Defence lawyers complained that Utusan Malaysia, a Malay-language daily linked to the government, ran photographs Friday of the court’s closed-door visit to the apartment where the incident allegedly took place.
Its front-page photograph showed Saiful gesturing to a bed there, as lawyers looked on. However, Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah on Friday refused a defence request to admonish the daily.
Previously he had also refused to punish Utusan over a front-page headline which read ‘Not willing to be sodomised again’ which the defence said suggested that Anwar had sex with Saiful more than once.
‘It’s not even once but twice so we have to take it up,’ said Anwar, who was jailed on separate sodomy and corruption charges a decade ago in a case widely seen as political motivated. ‘The local media has condemned me as they did in 1998 without (giving me a) chance to listen to my reply.’
The judge adjourned the trial until Tuesday when he will hear the application to disqualify him. — AFP