Mongolian woman's murder: Call for retrial for acquitted ex-cops

Mongolian woman's murder: Call for retrial for acquitted ex-cops
Mr Azilah Hadri's fiancee Nur Azila Baharuddin waited seven years to see him released from prison.

MALAYSIA - With public outrage growing over the Appeals Court's decision to free two former policemen convicted of murdering a Mongolian woman, lawyers and opposition lawmakers say the men should stand trial again.

Mr Azilah Hadri, 37, and Mr Sirul Azhar Umar, 41, were found guilty by the High Court in 2009 of shooting Ms Altantuya Shaariibuu, 28, then blowing up her body in a forest in Shah Alam in 2006.

But on Friday, the Appeals Court overturned the verdict and freed the pair on grounds that the trial judge had failed, among other things, to call key witnesses to the stand.

Lawmakers and lawyers argued that the Appeals Court should have called for a retrial to find out what went wrong in the prosecution.

"Even if the Court of Appeal found defects in the manner the High Court judge analysed the evidence and in the conduct of the prosecution in presenting the case, the proper order to make in this case was to order a retrial and not grant an acquittal," Mr R. Sivarasa, a Parti Keadilan Rakyat lawmaker and lawyer told reporters on Saturday.

Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Patail has said that he will appeal against the acquittal at the apex Federal Court.

The Appeals Court's controversial decision has angered Malaysians who have followed the sensational murder case closely over the years.

Many believe justice has not been served because of the political undertones of the case.

Sensational allegations included extramarital sex and high-level cover-ups.

Ms Shaariibuu, according to her father Setev Shaariibuu, was a translator for Mr Abdul Razak Baginda. Mr Abdul Razak himself was a speech-writer to then Defence Minister and current Prime Minister Najib Razak.

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