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World - Middle East

Explosion reported after Anwar courthouse evacuated in bomb scare

February 22, 1999
Web posted at: 1:42 a.m. EST (0642 GMT)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuters) -- Witnesses said an explosion was heard Monday after Malaysian authorities evacuated a wing of the courthouse where sacked finance minister Anwar Ibrahim's trial is being held.

A bomb disposal squad was sent in after a suspicious box was found, lawyers said.

Court officials, lawyers, reporters and spectators stood outside the two-storey building in the center of the capital after the bomb squad arrived at about 1:20 p.m. (0520 GMT). Anwar's corruption trial had earlier been adjourned for lunch.

High Court Judge Augustine Paul, who is presiding over Anwar's trial, stood outside the building as the bomb squad investigated.

Sulaiman Abdullah, one of Anwar's lawyers, said a suspicious looking box had been found in a corridor of the court complex.

Anwar, who was sacked in September, has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of corruption and sexual misconduct in a trial that has exposed deep political divisions in the country. The High Court has been examining four corruption counts since the trial started in November.

In a nearby court building, a royal commission investigating injuries Anwar sustained after being arrested started public hearings on Monday.

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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