Mongolian woman's murder: Shock, scorn over acquittal of ex-cops

MALAYSIA - The overturning of the murder convictions of two of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's ex-bodyguards on Friday has created a furore in the country.

The officers were the only suspects found guilty of shooting Ms Altantuya Shaariibuu and blowing up her body with militarygrade explosives in 2006, and the High Court had sentenced them to death in 2009.

Former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Zaid Ibrahim said the Court of Appeal judges should have asked for a retrial instead of acquitting the two men, The Star reported.

Mr Zaid, who held the legal portfolio previously, tweeted: "I am disappointed with the Court of Appeal judges. Not for acquittal, but for failing to order a retrial.

"In the interest of justice, a balanced retrial would have been appropriate. Now, it's not possible." He said that a retrial would allow both parties to examine the case again "to get justice".

He said that if a retrial had been ordered, it would have allowed both sides to take another look at the case as "witnesses can be called again, to get justice".

Opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament Lim Lip Eng also questioned the ruling.

He went so far as to suggest that the government hand over the case to his party's legal bureau, liberal news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Mr Lim said: "This has been done before. The government had appointed a private practitioner as a prosecutor previously, so this is possible.

"We (the DAP) will make sure the accused are charged accordingly," Mr Lim told Malaysiakini yesterday after lodging a police report urging the authorities to reopen the probe into the case.

Not surprisingly, many netizens poured scorn on the verdict, according to Malaysiakini.

Twitter user azzizul82 wrote: "I guessed that Altantuya is a suicide bomber. It's just that she bombed the wrong coordinates."

Similarly, jaillanish wrote that Ms Altantuya had "exploded from within just like in (the movie) Iron Man 3".

And Paan Zaki tweeted: "Altantuya had in fact committed suicide, wakes up, then blows herself up to hide the evidence - Another cartoon story from Malaysia."

Meanwhile, Ms Altantuya's father Setev Shaariibuu was reportedly upset and said that the Mongolian government should issue a statement on his daughter's murder, The Star reported.

Mr Setev added that he had expected the verdict and felt that he must now take the case to another level to seek justice for his dead daughter.

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