Federal Court dismisses Azilah’s application, death sentence remains

Court is of the view, on the face of the records, that there is no injustice against Azilah in the case


THE Federal Court dismissed a review application by former Special Action Unit personnel Azilah Hadri to set aside his conviction and death sentence for murdering Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2005.

A five-member panel, chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Azahar Mohamed, said the court was of the view, on the face of the records, that there was no injustice against Azilah in the case.

With the decision, the death sentence for Azilah is sustained.

The other judges were Datuk Seri Mohd Zawawi Salleh, Datuk Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, Datuk Zaleha Yusof and Datuk Zabariah Mohd Yusof.

Azilah, 44, filed the review application in December last year to set aside his conviction and death sentence in 2015 over the killing of Altantuya in 2005.

On Jan 13, 2015, the Federal Court overturned the acquittal of Azilah and another police commando personnel Sirul Azhar Umar over the murder of Altantuya, and imposed the mandatory death sentence.

The court set aside the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of Azilah and Sirul Azhar 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, 48, 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, 29, in Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am the following day in 2006.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 56, who was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul Azhar, was acquitted by the Shah Alam High Court on Oct 31, 2008, after the court held that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

The prosecution did not appeal against his acquittal.

Earlier yesterday, the Federal Court also rejected former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s (picture) application to be an intervenor in a review sought by Azilah to set aside his conviction and death sentence.

The five-member panel unanimously ruled that the proposed intervention by Najib will not have any effect on the outcome of the review applied by Azilah.

Chief Judge Azahar said Najib was never prosecuted in Altantuya’s murder case and the proposed intervention will not be affected by any order made by the court in the review application.

The judge panel, however, allowed Najib’s lawyers to hold a watching brief in the case, a similar position held by Altantuya family’s lawyers.

“In our opinion, the proposed intervenor’s legal rights and interests are not related to and connected to the subject matter of the review application. It is also our opinion that the parties to the review application namely the public prosecutor and Azilah are both able to assist the court in respect of the review.

“Accordingly, we dismiss the proposed intervenor’s motion, counsel is at liberty to appear before us in the review application, holding a watching brief for Najib,” Chief Judge Azahar said in the brief oral judgement.

Read our earlier report

Federal Court maintains death sentence against Azilah