‘Abolish death penalty to bring back Sirul’

Human rights campaigner’s way to bring justice to Altantuya and learn the full truth about ‘beastly affair’.

FMT Reporters | January 18, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should now abolish the death penalty, so that a convicted killer of Altantuya Shaariibuu may be brought back from Australia; and the truth about her killing uncovered, a human rights campaigner said today.

Kua Kia Soong, adviser to human rights organisation Suaram, said full justice had not been delivered in the Altantuya case because the motive for her murder had never been established in the courts.

Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, a model and translater, was shot and her body blown up in the jungles near Subang, Selangor, in a case involving commissions for the Navy’s purchase of two submarines.

Last week the Federal Court reinstated the death penalty on two policemen, Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, members of an elite VIP bodyguard unit, for her murder. A third accused, defence analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, had been acquitted without his defence being called.

Sirul is now reported to be in Australia but a Malaysian request for his extradition is complicated by Australian policy not to repatriate anyone facing the death penalty, which has been abolished there.

Dr Kua said if the death penalty was abolished, Sirul might be brought back and he raised the possibility of a fresh trial to uncover the whole truth.

However if the death penalty was carried out, “we will never know the full story of why they murdered the woman, whether she was connected with the purchase of the RM7 billion Scorpene submarines, or if they were induced by people in power to murder her”.

He pointed to “too many inconsistencies” in the case, such as:

  • the assertion that all records of Altantuya’s entry and presence in Malaysia were erased from the computers of the Immigration Department;
  • the sudden removal of the presiding judge before the trial started and the changing of the head of the prosecution team at the eleventh hour;
  • the fact that defence lawyers for the accused kept changing, with one walking out on the first day while charging that “third parties” were interfering in his work;
  • that defence lawyers and prosecutors both stopping Altantuya’s cousin from testifying further when she revealed that the victim had shown her a photograph of herself, Razak Baginda (an associate of Najib Razak, then defence minister), Najib and “others” having lunch in a Paris restaurant; and
  • the possibility of plea bargaining

Dr Kua speculated about the possibility of a fresh trial being ordered and said if the death penalty was abolished, it might be possible to induce the two convicted men to “spill the beans over the whole beastly affair” in exchange for a shorter sentence.

He said doing away with capital punishment would help avoid irrevocable miscarriages of justice, which usually take time to surface, pointing to the film Hurricane about a US boxer who spent 20 years in jail for a murder he did not commit.

Capital punishment has been abolished in about a quarter of the world’s countries, including most of Europe and Australia.

SOURCE www.freemalaysiatoday.com