Altantuya’s family fails in bid for statements from murder probe

Altantuya Shaariibuu’s father, Shaariibuu Setev.

PUTRAJAYA: The High Court here today dismissed the application by the family of Mongolian citizen Altantuya Shaariibuu to obtain the statements recorded by police from those who assisted in her murder probe 14 years ago.

According to lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera said the statements had been taken in confidence for the purpose of the criminal trial.

She said the judge also noted that disclosure could be prejudicial against pending investigations, and that no consent had been given by those who made the statements.

Vazeer also said the application was of no relevance as the information sought by the family would be obtained from the criminal records of appeal.

The decision was delivered in chambers here as Vazeer had been promoted to the Court of Appeal.

Sangeet said she would await instructions from her client about whether to appeal at the Federal Court.

“This was a unique application as we were relying on the disclosure of the investigation paper in a criminal trial which concluded in 2015,” she told reporters.

Altantuya’s family had sought to obtain the statements, including from those who were called to give evidence in the murder trial at the Shah Alam High Court between 2007 and 2008.

The family also sought the statements recorded from political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and former policemen Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri.

Sangeet said the civil suit proceedings, scheduled to run from Aug 10 to Aug 13, would be held at the Shah Alam High Court as the exhibits tendered during the criminal trial were kept there.

Altantuya’s father, Setev; his wife, Altantsetseg Sanjaa; and Altantuya’s son, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal, 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 by the High Court in 2009 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 abetting 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.

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