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Page last updated at 13:22 GMT, Sunday, 29 June 2008 14:22 UK

Malaysia's Anwar seeks sanctuary

Anwar Ibrahim speaks at the rally in Kuala Lumpur (14 April 2008)
A party official said Mr Anwar had received death threats

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has sought refuge in the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

He told the BBC he had gone to the embassy because he was afraid of being arrested or assaulted.

Earlier, Mr Anwar rejected a new allegation of sodomy made by a member of his staff, describing it as a complete fabrication to discredit him.

He says the claims by a 23-year-old are designed to block his political resurgence after success at the polls.

'Same script repeated'

Mr Anwar told the BBC's Newshour programme he was "seeking personal protection because of my fear of my personal safety in case they arrest [me], and I don't want to repeat the assault and near death under custody of the... Malaysian police".

The ex-deputy PM was jailed in 1998 on sodomy and corruption charges he has said were politically motivated. The sodomy conviction was later overturned.

Although freed from jail in 2004, the corruption conviction barred him from holding political office until 15 April 2008.

He said the government was making up the same accusations as they did in 1998 because they did not want him to take part in elections.

"I'm now eligible to contest the elections, so they have to fabricate the same script being repeated in my earlier case in 1998, 1999," Mr Anwar added.

The latest claims against him came from an aide who has worked alongside him from the beginning of the year.

The right moment

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi denied that the government has fabricated a case against him.

There was no conspiracy "to cause [Anwar] trouble or harass him or raise such issues to undermine him", he said.

In the general election in March, Mr Anwar led an opposition alliance to considerable gains.

They won control of the legislatures in five out of the country's 13 states, and an unprecedented 82 of the 222 seats in the House of Representatives.

The ruling National Front saw its worst showing in decades, prompting calls for the prime minister to resign.

Since then Mr Anwar has said he has the support of enough MPs to topple the government but is waiting for the right moment.



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