Malaysia's Anwar has trial postponed until August

KUALA LUMPUR, July 19, 2010 (AFP) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's slow-running sodomy trial was postponed Monday until August due to the ill health of his lead counsel.

Anwar Ibrahim gestures in his car to supporters as he leaves court after a postponment in his trial due to the ill health of his lead council in Kuala Lumpur on July 19, 2010. AFP

The trial, which had been due to resume after a six-week break, is now scheduled to resume on August 2 with cross-examination of a doctor who examined Anwar's young accuser.

Anwar's chief lawyer, 70-year-old Karpal Singh, is suffering from pneumonia and unable to attend court.

"The court will postpone the trial to August with an assurance from the defence that if Karpal is still unfit in August, one of you (other defence lawyers) must take over," Judge Mohamad Zabidin Diah said.

Defence lawyer Sankara Nair said Karpal was resting at home. He said he was hopeful he would recover, but that if he remained unwell the rest of the team was prepared to conduct the trial.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago, is accused of illicit sex with 25-year-old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who was an aide in his office.

The trial began in February has been punctuated by lengthy delays, partly due to a series of manoeuvres by the defence which has unsuccessfully sought access to evidence including medical reports and CCTV footage.

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