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Trial Adjourned for Anwar Illness

November 3, 1999

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ The sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim was abruptly adjourned Wednesday when the ousted deputy prime minister complained of a splitting headache after testifying for several hours on the witness stand.

High Court Judge Ariffin Jaka asked Anwar if he could go on with his testimony but Anwar massaged his brow and said he was ``not well.″

``You don’t look well. I can see it in your eyes and your face,″ Ariffin said. He said he had been given instructions by doctors to adjourn the hearing any time Anwar complained of headaches.

His lawyers said Anwar, who has been testifying for more than a week, would be brought back to prison after the hearing.

The five-month trial has been adjourned several times over the past eight weeks due to Anwar’s health.

Anwar, who is already serving a six-year prison term for corruption, was taken to the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital on Tuesday for a brain scan to determine the cause of his severe headaches. Doctors have yet to say what is causing the pain.

In September, the 52-year-old politician was admitted to the National University Hospital for several weeks after he alleged he was being poisoned with arsenic in prison.

Government doctors who conducted tests ruled out ``acute or chronic″ arsenic poisoning but said that Anwar still needed regular medical examinations. Anwar, however, has been unable to return since then due to scheduling conflicts between the court and prison authorities.

Before the judge adjourned Wednesday’s hearing, Anwar accused several of his former Cabinet colleagues, senior police officers and minor politicians of plotting his ouster and fabricating the allegations of sodomy, a crime in this predominantly Muslim country.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar, his longtime protege, in September 1998, saying he was unfit for government. Anwar was arrested soon after his firing and has been in jail since then.

Anwar denies all the charges against him, saying they are part of a plot to quash his political challenge to Mahathir.

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