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Sessions Court imposes gag order on media

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Oct 2008: The media were today given a gag order by the Sessions Court hearing Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case, preventing them from reporting the contents of exhibits in connection with the “black-eye” incident.

Judge SM Komathy Suppiah issued the order following the prosecution’s application. The exhibits in question comprised newspaper reports, a police report and a statement of claim relating to the incident that happened in 1998.

Head of the prosecution unit in the Attorney-General’s Chambers Datuk Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden told the court earlier that the publication of the exhibits by the media would further damage the reputation of Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

The contents of the exhibits were hearsay and if the court allowed the media to report them, the public would make their own perception or assumption rather than get to know the truth of the story, he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Sulaiman Abdullah said the court should not stop the media from reporting the contents of exhibits which were read out in open court which included Anwar’s affidavit in support of his application against the transfer of the case to the High Court.

Opposition leader Anwar, 60, who is Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor and Permatang Pauh Member of Parliamet, is on trial for voluntarily committing carnal intercourse against the order of nature with his 23-year-old former aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on 26 June.

If convicted, he will face imprisonment of up to 20 years under Section 377B of the Penal Code. Presently, he is on bail on a personal bond of RM20,000.

Today’s proceedings dwelled mainly on the validity of the certificate tendered by the prosecution to transfer the case to the High Court which was signed Gani.

The defence argued that the certificate was invalid because Gani was not supposed to be involved in the case since he was under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Agency following a report lodged against him by Anwar for allegedly fabricating evidence in the black-eye incident.

At the start of the proceedings, Yusof said the prosecution did not have Gani’s affidavit on why he had signed the transfer certificate. “If I did not get the Attorney General’s affidavit, I will only submit on point of law,” he said.

He said that in his possession presently was the affidavit sworn by Solicitor-General Datuk Idrus Harun.

At this juncture, Sulaiman interjected saying that yesterday Yusof was adamant about filing Gani’s and Idrus’s affidavits. “After the court granted his application to file the affidavits, now he is saying that he could also submit without the affidavits,” he said. — Bernama


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