Wednesday, 11 June 2003

Malaysia Anwar's protege wins bail
after two years

KUALA LUMPUR, June 10 (Reuters) - A leading supporter of jailed former Malaysian deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim left prison on bail on Tuesday after being locked up for two years on various charges, including plotting to oust the government.
Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor, youth leader of the opposition Parti Keadilan Nasional, was released by the High Court pending his appeal against a conviction under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
"I remain steadfast with the struggle for reform and I will go on with the struggle," Ezam told reporters as he was surrounded by jubilant family members, and well-wishers.
Some 200 supporters gathered outside the courthouse and chanted Anwar's war cry of "Reformasi" as Ezam walked free.
Ezam, a firebrand youth leader and one of Anwar's main allies, had been at the forefront of Keadilan's many demonstrations against the government until his arrest in 2001.
Earlier this month, three other Anwar supporters were released from a detention camp where they had been held for two years without trial under the Internal Security Act.
They were accused of plotting anti-government violence and street protests to bring the government down.
Ezam, who denied all charges, was regarded as a ringleader, and while the government had also let the ISA detention order against him lapse, he remained behind bars until Tuesday due to the Official Secrets Act conviction.
Once a step away from the pinnacle of power, Anwar was sacked in 1998 and later imprisoned on corruption and sex charges which he says were cooked up after he fell out with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The premier says Anwar received fair trials.