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Lawyer Says Malaysian Opposition Leader Released on Bail


A lawyer for Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says his client has been released from detention after spending the night in police custody in connection with a sodomy accusation.

Lawyer Sankara Nair said Anwar was freed Thursday on bail.

Malaysian police officers arrested Anwar outside his home Wednesday on a sodomy complaint filed by a former male aide.

After several hours of interrogation he was taken to a hospital for a medical examination, but then returned to police headquarters.

Anwar was scheduled to give police his statement Wednesday, but was arrested before he could voluntarily respond to the sodomy allegations.

Anwar says the accusations are part of a plot by Malaysia's ruling party to keep him from taking power.

His arrest came as the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is under increasing pressure.

In March, Anwar led the opposition to a stunning electoral victory, breaking the ruling National Front coalition's two-thirds-majority hold on parliament for the first time in four decades. The opposition also won control of five states.

Anwar says he has the support of enough lawmakers to topple Mr. Abdullah's administration and form a new government.

His arrest Wednesday was reminiscent of a similar event in 1998 when he was dismissed as deputy prime minister after being charged with sodomy and corruption.

He was eventually convicted and spent six years in jail, but the sodomy charges were later overturned.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.


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