REVIEW & OUTLOOK
July 19, 2008; Page A8
The last time Malaysian democrat Anwar Ibrahim was prosecuted on a trumped-up sodomy charge, we wrote that the government’s “crude measures will exact a heavy price in terms of lost credibility.” Ten years later, Malaysia’s political leaders are repeating their mistakes.
On Wednesday, Mr. Anwar was picked up by men in ski masks and hauled to police headquarters. He was interrogated for six hours, stripped and asked to supply a DNA sample — a request he refused. He spent the night on a concrete floor without furniture and was released on bail Thursday morning. Malaysian media report that the government is exploring ways to compel Mr. Anwar to give DNA.
Mr. Anwar’s accuser — his former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan — is under police protection. It’s not a stretch to imagine Mr. Anwar’s DNA finding its way onto his clothes as “evidence,” as that’s the tactic the police used back in 1998. Mr. Anwar wryly noted at a press conference that, while he was stripped, the police measured his “necessary parts.” That kind of detail would be helpful in a show trial. [more]