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Thursday October 1, 10:16 AM

Doctor says Malaysia's Anwar was assaulted

By K. Baranee Krishnaan

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 (Reuters) - A doctor who examined Malaysia's sacked cabinet
member Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday backed his claim that he had been assaulted while in police
custody.

"In my expert opinion...Anwar Ibrahim was assaulted over the left forehead and neck and received
blunt trauma that resulted in residual bruises over the left upper and lower eyelids," Dr Ahmad Shukri
Mohamed said in a written medical report after examining Anwar on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Anwar, his former deputy and groomed
heir, could have inflicted the bruises on himself.

Anwar told a Kuala Lumpur court on Tuesday that police had punched and slapped him after he
was arrested on September 20, setting off a firestorm of criticism from rights groups, opposition
parties and foreign governments.

But Mahathir said Anwar may have provoked the police or injured himself to gain sympathy.

"According to various people, this is not something which is impossible because he will get a lot of
mileage if he could show he was tortured by the police," Mahathir told local editors.

"I won't dare to say that he planned it, but there is a possibility he purposely did something to cause
the police to try to restrain him," the official Bernama news agency quoted Mahathir as saying.
"Maybe during that process the injury that we saw happened."

The debate over Anwar's black eye was the latest chapter in a high-stakes struggle between the
prime minister, who has led the country for 17 years, and his former heir-apparent who was sacked
on September 2 and arrested 18 days later.

When he appeared in court on Tuesday and Wednesday, Anwar's left eye was blackened.

In the one-page medical report obtained by Reuters, Dr Shukri said "the eyelid bruises must have
been the result of blood tracking down from the left forehead injury under the skin into the eyelid
area".

The doctor, who was appointed at the request of Anwar's wife, examined Anwar on Tuesday
afternoon at federal police headquarters.

He said the former cabinet minister had residual tenderness over the left side of his neck. His vision
in the left eye was "grossly normal", he said.

Anwar, under police detention and facing 10 charges of corruption and sodomy to which he has
pleaded not guilty, said Mahathir had been rejected by the Malaysian people.

"Malaysians should be made aware of the deterioration of their fundamental liberties and the
dictatorial acts of Dr. M," Anwar said, referring to Mahathir, in reply to written questions from
Reuters and a British newspaper during a court recess.

"I continue to appeal that they have their own resolve and resilience to continue to press for reform
and reject corrupt leaders."

Anwar pleaded not guilty to a new criminal charge of sodomy on Wednesday. The court was
adjourned after the case was transferred to the Kuala Lumpur High Court, which will hear all 10
charges. No trial date has been set.

Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said she was shocked by Mahathir's reacton.

"The prime minister has said that this may be a self-inflicted injury?" she told reporters. "Really, I'm
shocked that a former medical doctor can say so without personally examining my husband."

She said Anwar still had problems with his balance and needed the attention of a neurologist.

The Bar Council of Malaysia said it was shocked by the assault on Anwar and asked for his release.
"The assault reveals the inhumane and utter lawlessness of the action of the detaining authority," it
said in a statement.
 

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