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Sirul’s lawyer disputes IGP’s claims, says he is gagged

KUALA LUMPUR — The lawyer for former Malaysian police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu has disputed claims by the police that they had met him in their follow-up investigation over his claims on Mongolian’s murder.

Sirul’s lawyer disputes IGP’s claims, says he is gagged

Sirul’s lawyer disputes IGP’s claims, says he is gagged. Photo: The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR — The lawyer for former Malaysian police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu has disputed claims by the police that they had met him in their follow-up investigation over his claims on Mongolian’s murder.

Counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, who represented Sirul during that trial, said Malaysian and Australian lawyers have advised Sirul against speaking to anyone pending the outcome of his extradition case.

“He is under strict instructions from his lawyers here and Australia not to grant any interviews until the disposal of any application by the Malaysian authorities to repatriate him back,” Mr Kamarul told The Malaysian Insider.

PAS information Chief Mahfuz Omar, meanwhile, was adamant that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar lied when he said the police had interviewed Sirul.

Mr Kamarul said he last met Sirul at the Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney in the middle of February.

“It is a false claim for anyone now to allege to have met Sirul as our client is very well aware that any interview will likely to prejudice his status there,” Mr Kamarul said, in an oblique reference to Mr Khalid’s statement that his men had met Sirul.

The Malaysian Insider understands that two groups of Australian lawyers were appointed to deal with immigration and extradition matters.

Mr Kamarul also revealed that the Attorney-General’s Chambers has yet to commence an extradition request with Canberra, although the former policeman was arrested on January 22.

Last week, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Sirul’s extradition process was delayed because it involved “complicated legal issues”.

Mr Mahfuz, who continues to be in close contact with the former police commando, said Sirul had never mentioned being quizzed by cops ever since he fled to Australia, contrary to Mr Khalid’s claims.

“Just three days ago, before he was interviewed by Malaysiakini over the matter, Sirul was telling me no police had bothered to come to meet him and hear his side of the story,” Mr Mahfuz told The Malaysian Insider.

“I think it’s embarrassing that the IGP can make a statement that just ruins his credibility. He was under pressure to respond to Tun (Dr Mahathir Mohamad), so he lied to the whole country.”

The Pokok Sena MP said during his special mission to Australia last month, he saw no indication that the police would pay Sirul a visit.

Mr Mahfuz added that the deputy IGP Noor Rashid Noor had also passed the buck to the IGP when reporters asked him about the matter.

“When they asked the deputy IGP about it, he said, ‘ask the IGP’. Surely a deputy would know if it was true that the police interviewed Sirul in Australia?”

“The IGP’s actions bring shame to the entire police force and could tarnish the ties between Malaysia and Australia,” said Mr Mahfuz.

On Saturday (April 4), Sirul told news portal Malaysiakini that Mr Khalid lied when he said officers had been sent to Australia to interview him.

But Mr Khalid on Saturday insisted he was telling the truth and said he had no reason to mislead the public and the nation over the matter.

He said Sirul was a desperate man resorting to desperate measures to save his life.

“He is doing his best not to return to Malaysia where he will be facing the death penalty,” said Mr Khalid in a statement, adding that Sirul was trying to bring disrepute and cast doubt over the investigations into the murder case, his involvement and the criminal justice system.

“From what we have gathered in his outbursts thus far, he has offered us no new leads that would absolve him of the crime. Therefore, we would welcome his challenge to spill the beans, if he has any,” said Mr Khalid.

The Altantuya case resurfaced after Dr Mahathir raised issues related to the murder as well as the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), in his latest attack against Prime Minister Najib Razak.

In refuting Dr Mahathir’s statement that no investigations were carried out on Sirul’s claims, Mr Khalid had said on Friday police met the fugitive in Australia and concluded that there was no need for further investigations.

The Federal Court had on January 13 reinstated the conviction of former chief inspector, Azilah Hadri and Sirul for the murder of the 28-year-old in 2006.

Sirul was not present when the verdict was delivered and subsequent news reports revealed that he had left for Australia last October.

Evidence in court revealed that Altantuya was murdered before her body was blown up by C4 explosives on the outskirts of Shah Alam.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidante of Mr Najib, was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul but was acquitted by the High Court in 2008 without his defence being called. The government did not appeal his acquittal. Despite the conviction, the motive for the murder of Altantuya was never revealed. THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

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