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Tuesday, Sept 22
Malaysian police target Anwar's wife in security clampdown
by M. Jegathesan

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 22 (AFP) - The Malaysian authorities Tuesday imposed a security clampdown around the home of detained former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim and banned his wife, who has vowed to keep up his campaign for reform, from addressing public rallies.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail may also face police action over a television interview in which she raised fears for her husband's life.

Riot squads and police guarded city officials who cleared food stalls and other hawkers from outside the Anwar home. Aides said it could be the start of an attempt to stop the house and Azizah becoming an opposition rallying point.

Around 2,500 Anwar supporters watched, but there was no confrontation.

The action came after two days of running clashes between Anwar supporters and security forces since the former finance minister's arrest in the worst violence in the Malaysian capital in three decades.

The troubles have overshadowed a visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and the Commonwealth Games, the first to be held in Asia which ended Monday.

Anwar and 11 associates are now being held under the tough Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial, reports said.

Another 126 people were arrested at the demonstrations and rallies, the reports added. Those detained include six Indonesians, two Pakistanis and an Afghan national, The Star newspaper said.

Riot police dispersed several hundred people Monday night outside the national stadium after Queen Elizabeth formally closed the Commonwealth Games.

Plans for a mass demonstration by thousands of Anwar supporters fizzled out after various groups which arrived separately failed to locate each other outside the huge stadium, one source said.

The 46-year-old Azizah has now taken over as the head of the reform movement launched by Anwar after he was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister on September 2.

As well as facing indefinite detention, Anwar faces serious sexual misconduct allegations. The deposed leader has in turn accused Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of leading a campaign against him.

Pressure has mounted on the mother of six who has been thrust increasingly into the forefront since Anwar's detention on Sunday night when police stormed the family home.

Three police officers went to the family home on Monday night, with several thousand people waiting outside, and said Azizah should not address public meetings. She said she was ordered not to use a loud hailer or loud speaker.

''But I told them I would continue to meet the press to defend my husband,'' she told reporters.

''I cannot address rallies but I will continue to speak to the people,'' she insisted without explaining how.

Officers accompanied by riot squad police went to the house again Tuesday to insist the large gatherings outside should end, Anwar aides said.

Azizah told them she had no control over the crowds who were turning up spontaneously.

Meanwhile, police are investigating an Azizah interview with a foreign television channel in which she said she feared for the life of her husband and said she had heard he might even be injected with the HIV virus.

Anwar has been accused of sodomising two men, who were jailed for six months on Saturday in swift court hearings.

A senior police spokesman said the wife's statement contained ''seditious elements which could cause hatred towards the administration of justice in Malaysia,'' Bernama news agency reported. He added Azizah would be investigated.

Parliamentary opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, head of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), met Azizah after the police visit.

Lim called for the release of Anwar or for him to be produced in court and condemned the use of the security act. ''The ISA is not meant to be a convenient instrument for the police to decide later on what law to charge a person. This is total abuse of the ISA.''

Amnesty International has also condemned the use of the act by the government against Anwar.