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Tuesday, Sept 22
They plead guilty to illegal sex with the former DPM. Showdown looms as he alleges confessions were coerced

KUALA LUMPUR: A MALAYSIAN court yesterday sentenced the adopted brother and a former speechwriter of sacked deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim to six months' jail each after they pleaded guilty to allowing him to sodomise them.

The charges described the act explicitly and named Datuk Seri Anwar as the sodomiser. But in a press conference later, the former heir apparent to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad denied having committed the illegal sexual activity.

He alleged that the two men, Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja, 37, and Munawar Ahmad Anees, 51, had been tortured into pleading guilty.

They appeared before the Sessions court here yesterday and pleaded guilty to one charge each of allowing him to sodomise them.

Sukma, a former Indonesian who now has Malaysian citizenship, was arrested two weeks ago. Munawar, a Pakistani with permanent resident status in Malaysia and the US, was arrested earlier this week under the Internal Security Act.

In Sukma's case, the charge related to an incident in April this year at Datuk Seri Anwar's official residence. For Munawar, it was in March 1993 at the politician's private residence.

They were also said to have committed the offence with Datuk Seri Anwar several times, and lurid details were read out in court.

At the press conference, Datuk Seri Anwar said the speed and the timing of the court cases confirmed his charge of a political conspiracy against him. "I say categorically that these are absolute false charges, without an iota of truth to them. To avoid any doubt whatsoever, I once again clearly and specifically deny that I have been involved in these despicable activities."

He charged that the guilty pleas had been extorted under dire circumstances and emotional trauma, and repeated his criticism that the police were acting like "the Gestapo and the Mossad" -- security agencies of Nazi Germany and Israel.

He said the men had been denied family visits and access to legal counsel briefed to act for them by their families. Both men were represented by lawyers in court yesterday but he said these had not been hired by their families.

He said neither his lawyers nor his father had been allowed to see Sukma before or after the sentencing. "Why? Because they have been torturing him."

For the first time since his Sept 2 sacking, he openly accused his ex-mentor of plotting his downfall. "This is a conspiracy involving the Prime Minister himself.

"The conspirators are now in a state of total fear and panic when faced with the wrath of the people massively and conclusively demonstrated in Penang, Kedah, Malacca, Tanjung Karang, Kuala Trengganu and Kota Baru," he said of the rallies where thousands have turned out to hear him. Dr Mahathir "is the chief antagonist.

He is now orchestrating the entire mission".

He plans to address supporters at 4 pm today at KL's Freedom Square. Britain's Queen Elizabeth, arriving today for a state visit and to close the Commonwealth Games, is scheduled to attend a service at an adjacent church at the same time.