August 3, 2005

Malaysia’s Anwar gets apology, moves on

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia closed the book on
Wednesday on one of its ugliest political episodes when a
former chief of police apologized for beating former deputy
premier Anwar Ibrahim and giving him a black eye seven years

In return for the apology and an unspecified sum of money,
Anwar dropped his law suit against former police chief Rahim
Noor, who had hit Anwar on the night he was arrested on
criminal charges that were widely viewed as politically

"I appeal to my friends in the police force to take heed of
this and conduct themselves professionally for the sake of the
country," Anwar told reporters after Rahim's lawyer read out
the apology in court.

"Our concern has always been it's not a personal vendetta
but to make it an example that no other citizen will be
victimized and to teach a lesson that no one can be spared if
you abuse the law," he said.

Once a step away from Malaysia's highest office, Anwar was
sacked as deputy premier and finance minister in September
1998, after a fall-out with then prime minister Mahathir
Mohamad who had been his mentor for many years and groomed him
for the top job.

He was later arrested and brought to court with a black eye
to answer charges of sodomy and corruption he said were trumped
up. Images of him waving from a police vehicle with the black
eye earned Malaysia international condemnation.

After six years in prison, he was released last year when
his sodomy charge was overturned on appeal and his corruption
sentence had expired. Mahathir had retired by then.

Rahim was given a brief jail sentence and fined by a court
in 2000 after pleading guilty to hitting Anwar. He has been out
of the public eye since.

Anwar dropped demands for a similar apology from Mahathir
and the present government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad

"Naturally, the other parties have not shown the same sort
of a remorse," Anwar said. "But it's to my mind, a satisfactory
solution. There's no point in going on with this episode as too
many years have passed."

"It's not easy ... the pain, anguish, humiliation was huge.
But I agree that we have to move on."