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Tuesday, February 23, 1999 Published at 15:49 GMT


World: Asia-Pacific

Anwar: Police chief was at beating

Anwar Ibrahim described being repeatedly punched

Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, says the former police chief was present when he was beaten in police custody on the night of his arrest.

Malaysia Crisis Section
Giving a graphic account of the incident to a commission of inquiry, Mr Anwar said that he had been punched at least seven times on the head and neck, but said he could remember only the strong punches.

"There were seven hard ones. The first one was a strong hard one. The second round went very fast," he said.


[ image:  ]
He said he was certain that the then Police Inspector-General, Tan Sri Rahim Noor, had been present outside his cell immediately before his assault.

The police chief resigned last month following a report from Malaysia's attorney-general which said Mr Anwar's injuries had been caused by a police beating.

Although he had been blindfolded, Mr Anwar said, he had been able to hear the sound of policemen coming to attention and saluting outside his cell, so he assumed very important officers had arrived.

Mr Anwar said he had recognised the sound of someone clearing their throat immediately before the assault. Asked if he could identify the person, he said with certainty he could say it had been the then inspector-general.


[ image:  ]
"There are people in your life you meet many times and are familiar with. There are certain characteristics you associate with them," Mr Anwar said.

Mr Anwar said he had stood up out of respect and a matter of seconds later had been punched hard on the left forehead and had fallen over.

He described a series of punches, karate chops and slaps which had followed, but said he had lost count of all the other blows.

Screams of pain

A witness on Monday told the commission that he had heard screams of pain after the inspector-general and a senior colleague had gone into the general detention area.

However, the witness could not confirm whether the police chief had entered Mr Anwar's cell.

The assault became publicly known only when Mr Anwar made his first appearance in court with a bruised eye.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad initially suggested the injuries of his former deputy might have been self-inflicted.

Police investigation

A police investigation found that police had been responsible, but did not name individuals.


Frances Harrison in Kuala Lumpur: "The atmosphere at the inquiry is completely different to that of the trial"
This finding sparked calls for Dr Mahathir's resignation from his additional post as home affairs minister - in charge of the police.

The prime minister used a cabinet reshuffle to hand the position to his new deputy, and finally conceded to demands for an inquiry.

Mr Anwar is currently on trial on charges of corruption in covering up sexual misconduct. He denies the charges, which he says are politically motivated.



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