Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Najib fails to intervene in Altantuya killer’s bid to set aside conviction

Court however allows the former leader's lawyer to hold a watching brief.

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Former prime minister Najib Razak has failed in his bid to intervene in a case involving one of the two convicted murderers of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu to set aside the guilty verdict.

Former chief inspector Azilah Hadri, now on death row in Kajang prison, is trying to set aside his conviction and death sentence in order to seek a retrial.

Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed in announcing the decision in the Federal Court today however said Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, could hold a watching brief.

He added that as Najib was connected to the subject matter, the court may rely on the applicant and prosecution.

Azilah, alongside ex-policeman Sirul Azhar Umar and political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, was charged with Altantuya’s murder in 2006.

Razak, a former aide to Najib, was acquitted, while Azilah and Sirul were convicted.

Sirul later fled to Australia, where authorities have refused to deport him as it is not allowed under the country’s laws to send back those fleeing the death sentence.

Altantuya, with whom Razak had an affair, was shot dead and her body exploded with military-grade explosives at a forest in Puncak Alam, Selangor.

The case attracted speculation and conspiracy theories, with many linking it to alleged kickbacks in Malaysia’s purchase of two military submarines from France.

Apart from Azahar, other judges on the bench today were Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Vernon Ong, Zaleha Yusof and Zabariah Mohd Yusoff.

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