Malaysian opposition leader Anwar tries to get judge disqualified

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Kuala Lumpur, Feb.8 (ANI): Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial was sidetracked after his lawyers demanded that High Court judge Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah recuse himself from the case.

According to The Star, Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh brought up the issue as soon as the case was called at 9.58 a.m., on the grounds that the judge's previous ruling in relation to the closed proceedings of the trial's second day "brings to surface an element of real danger of bias."

Anwar claimed that Mohamad Zabidin has not adjudicated upon the applications made by his counsel "with an open mind."

Last week, Karpal had applied for the judge to cite Malay daily Utusan Malaysia for contempt of court over its coverage.

Justice Mohamad Zabidin ruled that the court would not initiate contempt proceedings against the newspaper as it was not done in court.

Monday's proceedings were expected to kick off with the much awaited cross-examination of Anwar's accuser and the only witness to have taken the stand so far, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Last week, Mohd Saiful testified that the PKR adviser had tried to come on to him.

Anwar, 63, has claimed trial to sodomising his former personal aide at the Desa Damansara Condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, 2008.

He is charged under Section 377B of the Penal Code and could be sentenced up to 20 years and whipping upon conviction. (ANI)

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