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Page last updated at 13:52 GMT, Monday, 30 June 2008 14:52 UK

Anwar quits Turkey embassy refuge

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim outside the Turkish embassy, 30/06
A media scrum awaited Mr Anwar outside the Turkish embassy

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has left the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where he had taken refuge on Sunday.

He went to the embassy after an aide accused him of sodomy, and he said he would stay there until the government could guarantee his safety.

Mr Anwar, 60, denies the allegations, which he says are designed to block his political resurgence.

His lawyers have now filed a libel suit against his 23-year-old male accuser.

Mr Anwar left the embassy after a meeting between Malaysia's Foreign Minister, Rais Yatim, and Turkish ambassador Barlas Ozener.

"The ambassador is of the view that he would like Anwar to be out of the premises as soon as possible," Mr Rais said.

But Mr Anwar denied he had been forced out, telling the Associated Press news agency he had made the decision to leave after the government had made "all the undertakings to assure [his] personal safety".

'Fabrication' claim

Mr Anwar was Malaysia's deputy prime minister until he lost the job in 1998 and was jailed for sodomy and corruption offences - although the sodomy conviction was later overturned.

ANWAR IBRAHIM TIMELINE
September 1998:
Sacked as deputy prime minister, arrested the following day on sodomy and corruption charges
April 1999:
Jailed for six years for corruption
July 2000:
Sentenced to further nine years for sodomy
September 2004:
Sodomy conviction overturned, freed from jail
April 2008:
Ban on holding political office ends

He always maintained his innocence and said the charges against him were politically motivated.

A decade later he again faces a sodomy allegation - and again he says political foes are behind the accusation.

Outside the Turkish embassy he told reporters he had been due to announce his candidacy in a by-election and unveil four government MPs who were defecting to his coalition.

"It is precisely because of this reason that they have created this mess," he said.

"They will keep me very busy in the next days on this case."

Mr Anwar's conviction for corruption carried with it a ban on holding political office. The ban expired in April and analysts had expected him to announce his re-entry into active politics.

Despite the ban, Mr Anwar became the figurehead of an opposition alliance during the general election held in March.

The opposition made considerable gains in a poll that severely weakened the governing National Front coalition's grip on power.

The government has strongly denied any involvement in the latest case against Mr Anwar.

"We don't have any plan to do something to him [just] because he said he has made a political comeback," Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said.



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