Apr 6, 2007

Family of murdered Mongolian model to sue Malaysian govt, accused

This case is really putting Malaysia on the spotlight.

(AFP) KUALA LUMPUR : The family of a Mongolian model brutally murdered here is suing the Malaysian government and three people accused in the case, including a well-connected political analyst, lawyers said Friday.

Lawyer Karpal Singh said he would soon file a civil suit for damages by Setev Shaariibuu, the father of model Altantuya, 28, who was murdered and then her body blown into fragments by explosives in October last year.

Two police officers have been charged with the killing, while analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, whose connections reach as high up as Malaysia's deputy prime minister, has been charged with abetting in the crime.

Singh said the suit named the Malaysian government, as well as the three accused, who are due to stand trial on June 4.

"The suit is against the government because of the two police officers being agents of the government...The government is also liable for the act," Singh told AFP.

"The suit is also against Abdul Razak Baginda as an ordinary person, who is also allegedly responsible for the crime," he said.

The murder has sent shockwaves through Malaysia because of the grisly nature of the crime, as well Abdul Razak's political connections.

Abdul Razak, who is married, in January admitted to having an affair with Altantuya, but said he wanted her out of his life after she demanded money.

Police have said the woman was kidnapped from outside Abdul Razak's home before she was killed.

Singh said Altantuya's father had legal custody of her two young boys, both below ten, and that he was seeking unspecified damages on the children's behalf to help support them.

"The children don't have any financial support now. She was supporting them," Singh said.

"I won't specify the amount but the children have to be supported right up until the age of 18. It will be quite a substantial amount," he added.

Singh said he was filing the suit in the high court in Shah Alam, west of Kuala Lumpur, "very soon" and that he expected the case to be heard after the criminal trial.

"We have to wait for the criminal case to be over. If they are found guilty, the government may well want to settle it," said Singh.

Abdul Razak and the two police officers, both from Malaysia's elite Special Action Force, face the death penalty if found guilty.

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