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Friday, June 8, 2018

Report: Australia to hand over ex-cop Sirul

UK paper says Sirul Azhar Umar is expected to leave Australia within a month.

Former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar had previously demanded a full pardon before returning to Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Australia has approved Malaysia’s request to extradite the former policeman convicted in the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, with Sirul Azhar Umar expected to leave the country within a month, The Guardian reported today.

Quoting sources, the UK paper said the request was granted after Malaysia agreed to cover the costs.

Sirul, who was convicted of Altantuya’s murder in 2009, was sentenced to hang together with his accomplice, Azilah Hadri.

They were released when an appeals court overturned the conviction in 2013 after raising questions about how their trial was conducted.

However, the Federal Court upheld their death sentences in 2015. Sirul fled the country ahead of that judgment and has been held at an Australian immigration detention centre in Sydney for the past three years.

According to Australian law, he was not deported to Malaysia as he faced the death sentence.

Sirul had claimed he was ordered by “important people” to murder Altantuya, and last month reportedly demanded a full pardon as a condition for returning to Malaysia and giving his story to the new government.

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, who was released from prison last month after obtaining a royal pardon, had called for Sirul to be brought back to face a fresh trial.

He told The Australian newspaper the original trial and the judges’ ruling was “compromised” and the reluctance of the judges to call relevant witnesses “made a mockery of the law”.

Altantuya was the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, a former close associate of ousted prime minister Najib Razak. He was accused of arranging kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.

Razak was originally charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul in the murder, but was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008. The prosecution did not appeal against his acquittal.

Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing over the deal amid allegations that French submarine maker DCNS paid “commissions” of more than €114 million euros for two Scorpene submarines, which critics claim were kickbacks. - FMT

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