09 April, 2009

Policemen to hang for murder

Two Malaysian policeman were sentenced to death for the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, in a sensational case the opposition has tried to link with new premier Najib Razak.

Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Najib who was sworn in as prime minister last week, had been accused of ordering police to kill his former lover after she came to his family home to harass him for money.

But last year he was acquitted of abetting the 2006 slaying of the 28-year-old model and interpreter -- a case which, with its ingredients of sex, politics and violence, has captivated the nation.

Altantuya's body was blown up with military-grade explosives in a jungle clearing, leaving only shattered bone fragments as evidence.

The two officers found guilty of the murder, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, are from an elite unit that guards the prime minister and deputy prime minister.

"Each of them are blaming the other, they failed to raise reasonable doubt against the prosecution's case. I convict both of you as charged," said Shah Alam High Court judge Zaki Mohamad Yasin.

"I sentence both of you to death. You will be taken to a place of execution where you will be hanged by your neck until you are dead," he said.

The pair looked calm when the sentence was handed down, and then stepped out of the dock and hugged their lawyers, who later said they would file an appeal.

Azilah's fiance, Nur Azila Baharuddin, insisted the pair were not guilty.

"We expected him to be acquitted but the judge has made the decision. We will wait for the next stage," she told reporters. "I really want to marry him, I have been waiting for so long since 2006."

The question that is inevitably asked is who could be behind the two Bukit Aman Special Action Squad (UTK) cops’ C4 murder of Altantuya.

Those who had thought that the end of the Altantuya murder trial, with the conviction and death sentence pronounced on Azila and Sirul, would end national and international fixation with any connection of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with the Altantuya murder case cannot be more wrong.

While Azilah and Sirul would appeal against the mandatory death sentence upon conviction under Section 149 of the Penal Code, their conviction and death sentence have not lessened but intensified public demands and necessity for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into swirling allegations of Najib’s involvement in the Altantuya’s C4 murder case.

As Najib has repeatedly declared his innocence of any involvement in the Altantuya C4 murder case, he must act decisively to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to lay all the swirling allegations about his involvement in the murder case which are haunting and hounding him, his administration and the nation’s good name, to rest once and for all – whether about the accessibility of C4 explosives, the disappearance of Altantuya immigration records, the exchange of SMS messages or the disappearance of private investigator Bala Subramaniam after making public a very damaging statutory declaration about Najib.

But, Why did Altantuya have to die ?

Why. That is the start of many questions that have yet to be answered in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

Why did the prosecution or defence not call the police aide to Datuk Seri Najib Razak who recommended the policemen to political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda?

That was the tenuous link the opposition have picked on to link the prime minister to the killing. There have been wild allegations that have even appeared in newspapers across the world, including statutory declarations and cautioned statements, that have haunted Najib since the beginning of the sensational case.

Why did Altantuya hound Abdul Razak? That she even risked coming to this country to meet him but to no avail.

Why didn't he just lodge a report for harassment? But went and asked a favour from a friend in the police force.

Why did the policemen commit the crime? She was an interpreter in a country far from home and surely no threat to anyone but she died a horrible death. Why?

Why did Abdul Razak's private investigator P. Balasubramaniam disappear after filing two statutory declarations that contradict each other? And why is he still missing?

Why ? why ?

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