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Sunday, February 28, 1999 Published at 08:12 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Police chief admits Anwar assault

Anwar Ibrahim: Raised assault allegations

Malaysia's former police chief has admitted beating up the ousted Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, after he was arrested.

Malaysia Crisis Section
Tan Sri Rahim Noor made the admission to a royal commission investigating Mr Anwar's treatment during his detention.

His lawyer, Teh Poh Teik, told the inquiry that his client had instructed him to admit the attack.

BBC Correspondent Frances Harrison: Police chief alleges provocation
Doctors have testified to the inquiry that Mr Anwar's injuries could have been fatal.

The lawyer said Mr Anwar had provoked the beating by insulting Tan Sri Rahim Noor - a charge Mr Anwar denies.

Mr Anwar was arrested last September on sex and corruption charges. He denies the accusations, saying they are politically motivated.

Frances Harrison: Doctors said the beating could have been lethal
The former deputy prime minister says he was beaten unconscious in police cells hours after his arrest.

He has previously accused the former police chief of being involved in the attack.

Mr Anwar says he was blindfolded during the attack but learned from junior officers that the police chief was responsible.

On hearing the admission Mr Anwar said he was stunned, adding: "So I was right all along".

[ image: Ex-police chief: First admission]
Ex-police chief: First admission
Mr Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah, said she was relieved the assailant admitted the attack, but added that the role of the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should be questioned since he was home affairs minister at the time of the assault, with overall responsibility for the police.

"The whole episode of injustice has galvanised people," she said.

Tan Sri Rahim Noor resigned as Police Inspector-General in January over speculation that he was responsible for attacking Mr Anwar.

He resigned saying he took overall responsibilty for what went wrong in his force.

But it is the first time that he has actually admitted carrying out the assault.

A BBC Correspondent in Kuala Lumpur, Frances Harrison, says the admission will be deeply embarrassing for the government whose human rights record is already under scrutiny.

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