PUTRAJAYA – The Federal Court today overturned the acquittal of two special action unit (UTK) personnel over the murder of a Mongolian woman, sending them to the gallows.
Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who read out the judgement, said the court set aside the acquittal of Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 38, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 43, for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu and restored the decision of the Shah Alam High Court which had found them guilty of the murder and sentenced them to death.
In a unanimous decision, the court allowed the prosecution appeal to set aside the Court of Appeal decision acquitting the two policemen.
The appeal panel was chaired by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria. The other judges were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum and Federal Court judges Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong and Tan Sri Ahmad Maarop.
Justice Suriyadi said that after perusing the evidence adduced in court, the two policemen had failed to cast a reasonable doubt on the prosecution case.
“The prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt as per the charge. We allow the appeal and restore the High Court decision to convict and sentence them to death,” said Justice Suriyadi.
Justice Arifin issued a warrant of arrest for Sirul Azhar who did not turn up in court. Deputy public prosecutor Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah had requested the court to issue the warrant.
Azilah and Sirul Azhar had been charged with the murder of Altantuya, 28, in Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10 pm on Oct 19 and 1 am the following day in 2006.
The Court of Appeal had on Aug 23, 2013, allowed the appeal brought by the two police commandos to set aside the 2009 Shah Alam High Court decision finding them guilty of murdering her and sentenced them to death.
Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 51, who was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul Azhar, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008, after it (the high court) held that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against him. The prosecution did not appeal against his acquittal. – Bernama