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Tuesday, Sept 22
Amnesty calls for charge or release of Anwar

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (AFP) - Amnesty International has called on the Malaysian authorities to promptly charge or release deposed deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim and his associates.

In a statement released late Monday the rights group also said the government should allow Malaysians to stage peaceful demonstrations.

Amnesty said the authorities should quickly bring a recognised criminal charge against Anwar, who was sacked as deputy premier on September 2 and detained on Sunday, or release him, instead of relying on the Internal Security Act (ISA).

''In light of events leading up to their arrest, and the past misuse of the ISA for political purposes, Amnesty International is concerned that Anwar Ibrahim and the other detainees are being held solely because of their critical political views and are possible prisoners of conscience,'' the statement said.

Anwar was detained on Sunday after police stormed his home. Police said he would be charged but then said he was being held under the ISA which allows for indefinite detention without trial.

According to newspaper reports, 11 associates have also been held under the ISA.

Reports also said 126 people had been detained at demonstrations and rallies on Sunday and Monday when Anwar supporters clashed with police.

Amnesty ''called on the government to respect the right of Malaysians to peaceful assembly and for the police to exercise the maximum restraint in their treatment of demonstrators.''