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Malaysia's ousted deputy prime minister pleaded innocent today to corruption and illegal sex acts.

Anwar Ibrahim, appearing in court with black-and-blue welts on his face and body after days in police detention, claimed that he was severely beaten by police and that his requests for medical attention were ignored.

His court appearance came a day after riot police clashed with thousands of anti-government demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to protest the arrest of Anwar, who is leading a campaign against Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's 17-year rule.

Anwar, 51, said the charges are politically motivated, trumped up by those who fear he could successfully challenge Mahathir.

A defense lawyer said Anwar had asked the court for an independent medical examination.

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