Saturday, August 24, 2013

PKR: Ex-cops should be re-tried for Altantuya murder, not acquitted

File photo of ex-policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar (heads covered). The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on August 23, 2013 overturned their conviction of murdering Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The Court of Appeal should have ordered a retrial of the high-profile murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shariibuu, instead of acquitting two former police commandos previously convicted of her killing, PKR’s R. Sivarasa said today.

The Subang MP stressed that the appellate court is empowered to do so, especially when there was a number of key witnesses who were not called during the High Court trial that led to the duo’s conviction in 2009.

“Even if the Court of Appeal found defects in the manner the High Court judge analysed the evidence and in the conduct of the prosecution in presenting the case, the proper order to make in this case was to order a retrial and not grant an acquittal,” Sivarasa told reporters here.

“There is ample power under the law in Section 60 of the Courts Judicature Act 1964 to order a retrial which is regularly done in appeals.”

In a decision that stirred controversy yesterday, a three-man panel of the appellate court unanimously ruled that Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar be allowed to appeal their charges.

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Azilah and Sirul, both formerly with the police’s Special Action Unit (UTK), had been found guilty in 2009 of committing the offence in Mukim Bukit Raja in Klang between 10pm on October 19, 2006 and 1am on October 20, 2006.

During the course of their trial, it was revealed that the Mongolian model was shot and her body blown-up with explosives in a jungle clearing on the night of October 19.

The duo had been charged under section 149 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Altantuya was said to have acted as a translator for Perimekar Sdn Bhd in Malaysia’s multi-billion ringgit purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines from French firm DCNS, prior to her murder.

Perimekar is owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, and reportedly received RM574 million in commission for providing support and co-ordination services to Putrajaya for the 2002 deal, back when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the defence minister.

Abdul Razak was initially charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul but was acquitted on October 31, 2008, after the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

Today, Sivarasa named DSP Musa Safiri, a former aide-de-camp to then defence minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as one of the main witnesses today, highlighting his link to Abdul Razak.

Besides Musa, Sivarasa also listed Najib, his former private secretary of 20 years Nasir Safar, his brother Nazim Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, businessman Deepak Jaikishan, and senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham among key witnesses for the trial.

According to him, the witnesses would have been able to provide a possible motive for the murder if they had been called.

High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yassin has previously said that he had a problem establishing a motive for the case.

PKR is also calling for a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into what it has called a “failed prosecution”, especially with the acquittal of Abdul Razak, Sirul and Azilah.

Sirul and Azilah were both released from Tapah Prison yesterday after the Court of Appeal overturned the decision on the high-profile 2006 murder.

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