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Lawyers deny govt claims that Malaysian activists end fast

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Lawyers for six imprisoned

Malaysian opposition figures on Friday denied government claims that

their clients had ended a protest fast.

Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said Thursday

that authorities had informed him the detainees had resumed eating.

Abdullah also said that the strike did not have public support.

Latifah Koyah, lawyer for the detainees, said that they were

still refusing food, but were drinking water, and demanded that they

be allowed to be examined by doctors of their choice.

"We have feedback from our sources in the prison camp," Latifah

told The Associated Press. "The hunger strike is very much on."

Prison officials were not immediately available for comment.

Latifah hoped to meet the detainees Saturday at the Kamunting prison

camp, 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur.

The detainees launched their fast April 10, the first anniversary

of their imprisonment without trial under the Internal Security Act,

accused by the government of planning violent protests. They deny

the charges.

The men are supporters of jailed former deputy prime minister

Anwar Ibrahim, who is serving sentences totaling 15 years at another

prison for convictions of corruption and sodomy.

Anwar has urged the detainees to resume eating because their

health is worsening. He is fasting between sunrise and sunset in

solidarity with them, but drinks milk and water after dark with

medication he is taking.

Anwar was fired by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1998 and

says he was framed on criminal charges to prevent him from

challenging Mahathir for power. The government denies it.


AP-TK-19-04-02 1112GMT<