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World Court Scrutinizes Malaysia

April 25, 1999

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ World Court legal experts arrived in Malaysia to scrutinize the judicial system after global condemnation of the trial of ousted politician Anwar Ibrahim, news reports said Sunday.

A team of three representatives from the court, based in The Hague, Netherlands, will probe the independence of Malaysia’s justice system, the New Straits Times reported.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahamd Badawi lashed out at foreigners for criticizing the nation’s judiciary.

``Who are they to question the fairness of the courts and the country’s laws?″ he was quoted as saying Sunday by the national Bernama news agency. It was unclear if he was referring to the visiting officials, who arrived Saturday.

A draft report on the group’s findings will be given to the Malaysian government for comments before a final report is handed to the World Court.

Anwar’s trial ended April 14 when the popular former No. 2 leader was sentenced to six years in jail for corruption. Anwar has denied the charges against him, saying they were crafted to end his challenge to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

International jurists and human rights groups have denounced Anwar’s trial and verdict. Amnesty International called Anwar a ``prisoner of conscience.″

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