Altantuya murder: Apex court sets April 20 to hear Azilah’s review bid

by BERNAMA/ graphic by MZUKRI

THE Federal Court here today set April 20 next year to hear former Special Action Unit (UTK) personnel Azilah Hadri’s application to review his conviction and death sentence for murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Federal Court deputy registrar Azniza Mohd Ali fixed the date after case management before her in chambers.

Deputy public prosecutors Norinna Bahadun and Tengku Intan Suraya Tengku Ismail told the media that the court had given time to the parties to file in affidavits and affidavits in-reply to the application before the hearing on April 20.

Norinna said the applicant (Azilah) had filed the application last week together with an affidavit which contained a statutory declaration (SD) to support his application.

She said the prosecution would study his affidavit and the SD before replying to the applicant’s affidavit.

Azilah’s lawyer, J. Kuldeep Kumar confirmed that his client had filed the application last week under Rule 137 of Rules of the Federal Court 1995 together with the SD.

The Malaysian media today carried front page stories that Azilah in his SD had claimed that the order to kill Altantuya had come from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was deputy prime minister then.

He said his client is seeking to set aside his conviction and death sentence imposed by the Federal Court on Jan 13, 2015 and an order for retrial.

Azilah, 43, who is on death row at the Kajang Prison, had filed the application on Dec 5, this year which contained 32-page of his SD.

Meanwhile, lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, representing Najib, told the media that his client had instructed him to file an application to intervene in the review application.

The lawyer said Najib had totally denied everything that had been alleged (by Azilah).

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, meanwhile, also told the media that she would apply to the court to hold a watching brief on behalf of Altantuya’s family in the application.

On Jan 13, 2015, the Federal Court overturned the acquittal of Azilah and another UTK personnel over the murder of Altantuya, an imposed the mandatory death sentence as murder is a capital offence.

The court set aside the Appeals Court’s acquittal of Azilah and Sirul Azhar Umar for the murder of Altantuya and restored the decision of the Shah Alam High Court which had found them guilty and sentenced them to death.

The then Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who led the panel at that time, also issued a warrant of arrest for Sirul Azhar, who did not turn up in court.

Sirul Azhar, 47, has been in a detention centre in Australia for several years now after he fled to the Down Under in 2014 while on bail.

Azilah and Sirul Azhar had been charged with the murder of Altantuya, 28, in Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10 pm on Oct 19 and 1 am the following day in 2006.

The Court of Appeal had on Aug 23, 2013, allowed the appeal brought by the two police commandos to set aside the 2009 Shah Alam High Court decision finding them guilty of murdering her and sentenced them to death.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 55, who was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul Azhar, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008, after the High Court held that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

The prosecution did not appeal against his acquittal.