Anwar sodomy case: Journalists left stranded outside court building

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim vowed on October 28 to go down "fighting a corrupt government" as Malaysia's top court began hearing his appeal against a sodomy conviction that would send him back to jail and out of active politics.

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Many journalists were kept out of the courthouse here, leaving them unable to provide effective coverage for the final appeal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case.

The group of over 100 reporters and cameramen were seen around the Palace of Justice premises as early as 7am in preparation for the proceedings.

However, a series of miscommunication between the police, Federal Court staff and the media soon left them stranded outside the building.

In the morning, the police had initially allowed only lawyers, cleaning workers and court staff to enter the barricaded area about 300m from the court building.

When asked, the police on duty said they had no instructions to allow others in, while court staff told reporters that it was out of the court's hands and that only the police had the discretion to decide who could be allowed entry.

At 8am, the Federal Court communications department allowed in 18 local media reporters who had earlier submitted their names to the police.

However foreign media personnel, photographers and videographers were not allowed in. The police later allowed one foreign press writer to enter the courtroom.

The Federal Court room has a seating capacity of about 80 people.