Malaysia's Opposition Leader Anwar Arrested

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been arrested by police, his lawyer Sankara Nair said on Wednesday.

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Anwar had agreed to meet police later during the day on a sodomy complaint lodged by a former aide, and police had warned they would arrest him if he did not show up.

"This is most unbecoming," Sankara told reporters. "We have agreed to come. This is not right."

Anwar's supporters have cast the sodomy allegation as an attempt by premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government to prevent the opposition from gaining ground.

"Yes, he was arrested outside his house just before 1 p.m. (local time)," Ginie Lim, a spokesman for the Anwar's People's Justice Party, told Reuters. "He was not handcuffed but they pushed him into a police car."

Replaying scenes from a decade ago where his rise was snuffed out when he was jailed for sodomy and corruption, the ex-deputy premier is fighting a sodomy complaint as he leads a charge by the opposition to seize power by September.

Anwar's arrest is likely to spark more tremors in financial markets, which have groaned under the weight of a protracted political drama that includes allegations of sex and murder against senior politicians.

The stock market was down 0.23 percent to 1,125.03 points by midday. It has fallen about 5 percent since the start of July.