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KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was charged with taking part in a street protest with the intention to defy a court order not to breach the cordon at Dataran Merdeka on April 28.
When asked to enter his plea, Anwar said "Ini pertuduhan politik, minta bicara" (this is a political accusation, I’m claiming trial”), to the laughter from those present in court.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali and the party’s youth leader, Badrul Hisham Shaharin, were also charged with the same offence and both pleaded not guilty.
The surprise, however, came when former Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, who headed the prosecution team in the
sodomy trial against Anwar, took his seat with the defence team.
Selangor head of prosecution Abdul Wahab Mohamad proposed bail of RM2,000 for Anwar.
Yusof, however, argued that past records showed that Anwar had attended court way back since 1998.
"He might just be late from time to time," he added.
Judge Mahmud Abdullah fixed bail at RM500 for each of the accused.
The trio were also jointly charged for abettment in breaching the court order that prohibited entry into Dataran Merdeka.
After proceedings, reporters mobbed Yusof, asking about his involvement in Anwar's legal team.
Yusof said: "He called me last night, I was willing and able."
He also said that "he was not joining any political party" and that he was an "advocate and solicitor and a free agent".
He said that he took optional retirement in February and had his own law firm and was the only employee in the firm.
Karpal, when asked how he felt about having Yusof onboard said: "This is his first case as a defence counsel. Let's see how he goes, we are there to guide him and anyway he is a very experienced prosecutor".
Karpal also said that when he heard on Monday night that Yusof would be joining the team, he was taken aback.
"Quite incongruous, difficult to reconcile, nevertheless he has opted to be on our side."