Dec 2, 2006

Altantuya murder raises three questions

(MalaysiaKini) Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) said the government must urgently answer three questions surrounding the widely publicised murder of 28-year-old Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu.

“Many of the question marks that are increasingly arising around the case of the Mongolian woman's murder concern the possible involvement of people in government,” its deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali said in a statement today.

Although the case is now before the court, what the government should do is to immediately inform the people what they need to know instead of allowing them to believe in rumours as the truth, he said.

These frequently discussed question marks revolve around three issues:

1. The involvement of Special Operations Unit (UTK) personnel in the murder.

2. The use of specialised C4 explosives.

3. The accused was released on bailed bond.

“The accused in this murder case was freed by the court on an unguaranteed bond. As far as we know, this is only the second time a murder suspect has been freed. It is, however, the first time the accused has been freed on an unguaranteed bond,” said Syed Husin.

“What is further perplexing is that the prosecutors did not object at all."

Syed Husin said that the government should respond to the questions raised.

“Should the government continue to be silent; rumours will spread even further and will eventually be accepted as the truth by the public."

Altantuya's brutal murder received wide coverage in Mongolia and in Malaysia after reports broke that explosives were used to blow up her body to remove evidence after apparently being shot twice in the head in late October.

Fragments of bones which were later verified as hers were recovered in a secondary forest near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam in Shah Alam early last month.

Trial begins Dec 14

Prominent political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who has close-links with the government, was charged last month for abetting in the murder.

He was however allowed bail on a RM1 million bond with two sureties without security, with his asthmatic and infected lung conditions cited as health impediments.

Two policemen from the Federal Police Special Action Force, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, have been charged with her murder.

Abdul Razak was alleged to have conspired with the two policemen to kill Altantuya at Bangunan Getah Asli at Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 18 .

His trial will begin on Dec 14 at the Shah Alam High Court. He faces the death penalty if found guilty.

The victim's father, Shaariibuu Setev, said he was unhappy with the High Court judge's decision.

"This is an international case, it is a brutal murder. It was all talking about releasing him (Abdul Razak), all about his family and his background,” Shaaribuu was reported as saying.

"If it continues this way, it is not about the brutal murder case any more, it will be talking about somebody's reputation. I hope justice will be served."

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