NOVEMBER 2, 1998
BusinessWeek Online

Anwar's Beating Was Premeditated, Charges His Wife

The appearance in a Kuala Lumpur courtroom earlier this month of a bruised and apparently beaten Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister until his abrupt dismissal on Sept. 2, shocked observers not only in Malaysia but around the world. Now, he is due to begin trial on several charges ranging from sodomy to corruption on Nov. 2. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who as Home Minister oversees the police, has ordered an investigation into the incident. Mahathir also serves as Finance Minister, a position he assumed after sacking Anwar.

In an exclusive interview with Business Week Asia Editor Sheri Prasso and Asia Correspondent Mark Clifford at the family's home in the affluent Damansara Heights district of Kuala Lumpur, Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Ismail, provided her account of what caused the injuries:

"Just after he was arrested, he was handcuffed behind his back and blindfolded. He was brought to a room, and the handcuffs and blindfold were removed. [Shortly after he arrived] the order came to handcuff him behind [his back] and blindfold him again. Then suddenly, he was given a beating. It was out of the blue. He nearly passed out. He was bloody. The lower-ranking fellows [policemen] cleaned him up."

Although some observers have speculated that Anwar provoked his interrogators, Wan Azizah charges that the beating was unprovoked and apparently premeditated. Anwar remains imprisoned pending trial and has not publicly given details of what happened.

By Sheri Prasso