Najib seeks to intervene in ex-cop’s bid to set aside Altantuya conviction

Former prime minister Najib Razak.

PUTRAJYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak is seeking to intervene in a review application filed by former policeman Azilah Hadri who wants his conviction for the murder of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu set aside.

Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said his client denies all allegations in Azilah’s sworn statement accusing him of ordering her death.

“The application to intervene will be made because one cannot be condemned without the person being there in court to defend himself,” he told reporters after case management before Federal Court deputy registrar Azniza Mohd Ali here today.

He also said that Najib was being targeted “again”, adding that the former prime minister was already being politically victimised.

“They want to arrest him without giving bail,” he said.

Azniza fixed April 20 to hear Azilah’s review application, filed under Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules.

Shafee claimed Azilah had filed the statutory declaration (SD) at the 11th hour in a “desperate move” as he was facing the death penalty.

However, lawyer Hazman Ahmad who filed Azilah’s application for clemency, maintained that the Selangor Pardons Board had yet to deliberate on the matter.

Lawyer J Kuldeep Kumar told reporters he had attached the SD when filing Azilah’s review application last week.

“Azilah is also asking the Federal Court to set aside the 2015 conviction and order a re-trial,” he said, declining however to provide further details.

Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules allows an applicant to review the decision of the apex court to prevent any miscarriage of justice.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Norinna Bahadun, who appeared with fellow DPP Tengku Suraya Tengku Ismail, said the deputy registrar had instructed all parties to file affidavits and replies in order to participate in the proceedings.

“We will also study the SD before briefing the attorney-general on the next course of action,” she said.

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said she had applied to hold a watching brief for Altantuya’s family.

“More importantly, the police should conduct an investigation as fresh evidence has emerged following the filing of the SD,” she said.

Azilah, who was convicted together with former policeman Sirul Azhar, said among others that Abdul Razak Baginda, Altantuya’s former lover who was acquitted of her murder, and senior police officer Musa Safri, were aware of the “instructions” from Najib.

Azilah and Sirul were sentenced to death in January 2015, nine years after Altantuya was killed in a forest near Shah Alam and her body blown up with explosives.

The five-member bench chaired by then-chief justice Arifin Zakaria overturned their earlier acquittal by the Court of Appeal.