Lawyer says not allowed to see
July 6, 1999
Web posted at: 4:56 AM EDT (0856 GMT)
KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 (Reuters) - A lawyer appointed to represent the
adopted brother of former minister Anwar Ibrahim in a sex case said on
Tuesday he was denied access to the defendant while the man was in police
K. Ganesan told the capital's High Court hearing Anwar's sodomy trial he
was surprised to learn later that a government lawyer had been appointed
represent Sukma Darmawan in September last year.
In a case that has opened political wounds in Malaysia, former finance
minister Anwar and boutique owner Sukma are being jointly tried for
allegedly sodomizing the Anwar family's former driver in 1993.
Sukma in September confessed he had sex with Anwar. After a 30-minute
trial on September 19, the day before Anwar was arrested, he was
sentenced to six months in jail.
Sukma, 37, later said he had been coerced into making the confession while
in police detention to frame Anwar, and that police had appointed a
government lawyer to represent him against his wishes.
The prosecution had tried to enter Sukma's confession as evidence in the
joint trial and the defense moved to block it. The court then began a
"trial-within-a-trial" to determine the admissibility of the confession.
Anwar, 51, was sentenced in April to six years in jail for corruption.
claimed the charges against him were false and were part of a high-level
political plot to ruin his chances of ever succeeding Prime Minister Mahathir
Ganesan testified he and another lawyer had been appointed to represent
Sukma by Sukma's sister. But he said they were denied access to Sukma
while he was held at police headquarters despite appeals to two senior
police officers in charge of the case and the attorney-general's office.
"I was never allowed to meet Sukma despite my repeated attempts to do
so," Ganesan told the court while being questioned by defense counsel
Ganesan said he was not informed by police or the attorney-general's office
that a government lawyer, Mohd Noor Don, was going to be appointed to
Sukma last week told the court he was told by police to accept Mohd Noor
as his counsel if he wanted early release from detention. The prosecution
contends that Sukma appointed Mohd Noor willingly.
Ganesan said he received a call on September 19 from a man who identified
himself as Mohd Noor who said he was taking over the case.
"I wanted to know how on earth he could take over the conduct of the
matter. He said he was called by Sukma the night before, and since Sukma
doesn't know me, he (Sukma) wanted Mohd Noor Don to represent him,"