Malaysian court frees ex-guards in Mongolian murder case

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Altantuya
Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa (†)

A Malaysian court has overturned the convictions of 2 former policeman and guards of then Deputy Prime Minister and today’s Prime Minister Najib Razak in a high-profile murder scandal that happened in 2006.

The victim, Mongolian model Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, was shot and then blown up by C-4 explosives on October 18, 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at age 28.

The woman allegedly had an affair with the Najib’s former close associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and worked for him as an interpreter when he negotiated Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines from French shipbuilding giant DCNS in 2002. Apparently she found out that “commissions” had been paid for purchase of three submarines to a company controlled by Najib, and she started to blackmail Baginda, asking for half a million dollars to remain silent about her knowledge of the deal.

When her remains were found, their identity could only be confirmed by a DNA test.

Even though Baginda has been accused of being involved in the murder, he was acquitted in 2008 by the Malaysian High Court. There were also alleged links to Najib Razak himself who was then also defense minister, as well as his wife Rosmah Mansor, but there was no evidence that for an involvement in the murder case.

Two murder suspects have been named as Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar. They had been members of the elite Malaysian Police Special Action Force, a counter-terrorism unit, and were both assigned to Najib’s office as bodyguards.

The officers were the only suspects found guilty of shooting Altantuyaa and blowing up her body with military explosives. When Altantuyas turned up outside Razak Baginda’s house on October 19, 2006, the policemen took her away and that was the last time she was seen alive. A High Court judge in 2009 sentenced them to be hanged.

Thus it came as a surprise that a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals overturned the convictions on August 23 and ruled the High Court had “overlooked gaps in the evidence.”

Netizens in Malaysia took to Twitter and other sites after the news broke to voice anger and disbelief over the still unresolved scandal.

“Altantuyaa must still be alive since no one killed her,” one poster said.

“She must have shot herself behind her head, then use C-4 to blow herself up,” another one suggested.

“Political decision to shield Najib, Rosmah?” another tweet asked.

Prosecutors now can appeal the verdict one final time in Malaysia’s highest court.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa (†)

A Malaysian court has overturned the convictions of 2 former policeman and guards of then Deputy Prime Minister and today’s Prime Minister Najib Razak in a high-profile murder scandal that happened in 2006.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Altantuya
Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa (†)

A Malaysian court has overturned the convictions of 2 former policeman and guards of then Deputy Prime Minister and today’s Prime Minister Najib Razak in a high-profile murder scandal that happened in 2006.

The victim, Mongolian model Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa, was shot and then blown up by C-4 explosives on October 18, 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at age 28.

The woman allegedly had an affair with the Najib’s former close associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and worked for him as an interpreter when he negotiated Malaysia’s purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines from French shipbuilding giant DCNS in 2002. Apparently she found out that “commissions” had been paid for purchase of three submarines to a company controlled by Najib, and she started to blackmail Baginda, asking for half a million dollars to remain silent about her knowledge of the deal.

When her remains were found, their identity could only be confirmed by a DNA test.

Even though Baginda has been accused of being involved in the murder, he was acquitted in 2008 by the Malaysian High Court. There were also alleged links to Najib Razak himself who was then also defense minister, as well as his wife Rosmah Mansor, but there was no evidence that for an involvement in the murder case.

Two murder suspects have been named as Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar. They had been members of the elite Malaysian Police Special Action Force, a counter-terrorism unit, and were both assigned to Najib’s office as bodyguards.

The officers were the only suspects found guilty of shooting Altantuyaa and blowing up her body with military explosives. When Altantuyas turned up outside Razak Baginda’s house on October 19, 2006, the policemen took her away and that was the last time she was seen alive. A High Court judge in 2009 sentenced them to be hanged.

Thus it came as a surprise that a three-judge panel in the Court of Appeals overturned the convictions on August 23 and ruled the High Court had “overlooked gaps in the evidence.”

Netizens in Malaysia took to Twitter and other sites after the news broke to voice anger and disbelief over the still unresolved scandal.

“Altantuyaa must still be alive since no one killed her,” one poster said.

“She must have shot herself behind her head, then use C-4 to blow herself up,” another one suggested.

“Political decision to shield Najib, Rosmah?” another tweet asked.

Prosecutors now can appeal the verdict one final time in Malaysia’s highest court.

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