Court to rule on bid for statements by Altantuya’s family

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo.

PETALING JAYA: The High Court will rule on July 22 whether the family of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu is entitled to obtain statements recorded by the police from those who assisted in her murder probe in 2006.

Lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo said judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera fixed the date during a recent case management.

“Parties made their submissions last year,” she told FMT. “Hopefully this ruling will pave the way for our civil suit to proceed.”

Altantuya’s family is seeking to obtain statements taken in any form from all persons, including those who were called to give evidence in the murder trial at the Shah Alam High Court between 2007 and 2008.

They also want the statements recorded from political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and former policemen Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri.

Sangeet said Vazeer, who was elevated to Court of Appeal judge last year, would deliver the judgment in Putrajaya.

“However, the civil suit proceedings from Aug 10 to 13 will be held in the High Court in Shah Alam as the exhibits tendered during the criminal trial are still kept there,” she said.

Altantuya’s father, Setev; his wife, Altantsetseg Sanjaa; and Altantuya’s son, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal, had named Razak, the government, Sirul and Azilah as defendants in their suit.

Alleging conspiracy in Altantuya’s murder, they are seeking RM100 million in damages including dependency claims.

So far, 10 witnesses for Altantuya’s family have given evidence in the case which began in January last year. Another 20 are expected to be called in.

Sirul and Azilah were convicted in 2009 by the High Court of killing Altantuya, who was described as an interpreter.

Although they succeeded in overturning their convictions at the Court of Appeal in 2013, the Federal Court restored them in 2015 and sentenced the two to death.

Sirul fled to Australia before the final verdict. The Federal Court later issued a warrant of arrest for him.

Razak, who was charged with abetment in the murder, was freed at the end of the prosecution’s case. The court ruled that the charge against him was not proven and the government did not appeal, a move that drew public condemnation.

Neither Sirul, who is being held at an Australian detention centre, nor Azilah, who is on death row at Kajang prison, have challenged the suit.

However, Azilah in December filed a review to set aside his 2015 conviction. He is seeking a re-trial on grounds that Razak, who was Altantuya’s former lover, and senior police officer Musa Safri, were aware of “instructions” from then-prime minister Najib Razak.

Najib has also filed an application to be made an intervener. The matter is still pending at the Federal Court.

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