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 Local

Prosecution closes its case on Altantuya murder trial

24th June, 2008

SHAH ALAM: After 124 days and 84 witnesses later, the prosecution yesterday closed its case on the murder trial of Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The trial will continue on July 23, to enable the defence and prosecution to present arguments.

High Court Judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ordered both sides to present written arguments, including those on two trials-within-a-trial.

The trials-within-a-trial were on Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri’s allegation that he had pointed out the spot – where Altantuya was shot and blown up – to Chief Inspector Koh Fei Chow.

They (trials-within-a-trial) were also to determine whether Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar’s actions and statement to ASP Zulkarnain Samsudin on the discovery of the victim’s jewellery in his house, could be accepted as evidence.

Besides these, arguments on impeaching two witnesses are also to be included.They are on statements by Azilah’s girlfriend, Lance Corporal Rohaniza Roslan and Special Action Unit (UTK) officer DSP Mohd Yusri Hasan Basri.

All sides agreed that the arguments be done continuously without break, to enable the court to arrive at a decision.

Mohd Zaki, who has always been calm during proceedings, also said that in the course of the trial, he had written up to 4,000 pages.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah said the prosecution offered 144 witnesses to the defence, including Mongolia’s Honorary Consul to Malaysia, Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi and Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda’s wife, Mazlinda Makhzan.

The high-profile case which received international attention, involves Azilah, 32, and Sirul Azhar, 37, both Unit Tindakan Khas (Special Forces Unit) personnel who are charged with murdering 28-year-old Altantuya.

The offence was alleged to have been committed between 10pm, Oct 19, 2006 and 1am, the following day, at an area in Bukit Raja near here.

Political analyst Abdul Razak, 48, is charged with abetting them. All three are charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

The prosecution was led by Tun Abdul Majid and involved DPPs Noorin Badaruddin, Manoj Kurup and Hanim Rashid.

Azilah was represented by lawyers Datuk Hazman Ahmad and J. Kuldeep Kumar, while Sirul Azhar was defended by Kamaruhisham Kamaruddin, Hasnal Redzua Merican and Ahmad Zaidi Zainal.

Lawyer Wong Kian Kheong represented Abdul Razak. Altantuya’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, who was in court at 9.30am, will leave for Mongolia on Thursday.

Speaking through an interpreter, Shaariibuu said he came to hear the decision on his daughter’s murder trial but did not expect it to be just the close of the prosecution’s case.

Outside the court, Shaariibuu, who was still dissatisfied with course of the trial, issued a statement that a decision on the case had to be made fast as he had waited a long time for it.

Shaariibuu also handed a letter from the deputy director of the Consular Department of the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry, Yadmaa Ariunbold, to Tun Abdul Majid, requesting that the case be conducted fairly and appropriate action taken.

Asked to comment on that, Tun Abdul Majid said: “There is nothing we can do. It depends on the court.”

   
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